G-A-Y nightclub owner launches legal challenge against 10pm curfew

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Ross Burgess (Wiki Commons)
Photo credit: Ross Burgess (Wiki Commons)

Related tags: Curfew, Coronavirus, Legal challenge, Government, Night time economy

The owner of London’s G-A-Y nightclub in Soho is to launch a legal challenge against the Government’s 10pm curfew.

Jeremy Joseph - who also operates G-A-Y Late and Heaven in London, as well as G-A-Y Manchester - claims the curfew 'makes absolutely no sense' and treats the night-time economy as a 'scapegoat' for the spread of Coronavirus.

Leading barristers at Kings Chambers, including Sam Karim QC, Sarah Clover and Leo Charalambides, along with Dan Rosenberg of Simpson Miller Solicitors, have been instructed by Joseph to challenge the  restrictions.

The pre-action protocol for judicial review has been served to challenge the Government’s decision to implement a national curfew of 10pm on hospitality premises, which has been in place since 24 September 2020 and has been widely criticised by industry experts and politicians alike.

Joseph's legal team of public law and licensing law experts, supported by Kirsty McShannon of Azorra Ltd, legal advisor to G-A- Y, have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock with a formal challenge to the legislation, which was amended on 24 September to include the 10pm curfew.

"Enough is Enough," says Joseph.

“The 10pm curfew which has now been in place for the last two weeks and has been detrimental to the hospitality sector, including G-A-Y, makes absolutely no sense.

"It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time. They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport.

"This Government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation. It seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the nighttime economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid secure."

Sam Karim QC, acting as lawyer for the business, said G-A-Y will launch judicial review proceedings if Hancock does not provide a 'satisfactory response' by 4pm tomorrow (6 October).

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill echoes Joseph’s comments, and supports the challenge.

"The implementation of the 10pm curfew and further restrictions on the sector has had a catastrophic impact on business levels, resulting in thousands of businesses making the difficult decision to close the doors, or make staff redundant," says Kill. 

“The decision to implement a curfew makes no sense and has no published scientific or medical foundation to reduce transmission rates. If anything, it is counterproductive, with thousands leaving hospitality venues at 10pm, creating mass gatherings on the street and overcrowding public transport.

“Jeremy and his Team at G-A-Y have been a long-standing members of the NTIA, and we are fully supportive of the action he has taken to start Pre-Action Protocol to judicially review the decision by Government to implement the national curfew of 10pm on all hospitality sector businesses.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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