Legal challenges over the six-month extension of COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland will proceed to a full hearing, ruled the High Court. Three separate legal challenges were filed after former Health Minister Robin Swann announced the extension last September.
Attorneys of the applicants of the legal challenges argued that the extension was unlawful because the minister did not get the approval of the Executive Committee.
Swann made the extension under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to allow for the introduction of restrictions in case of any future COVID-19 developments. He claimed he was legally advised that he could make the extension without the approval of the Executive Committee.
It was the Coronavirus Act 2020 that gave the government far-reaching digital surveillance powers.
Swann, who left office in October, further argued that he had no plans of introducing any restrictions but had to make the extension so that Northern Ireland could be aligned with the rest of the UK in response to new Covid variants.
The applicants argue the former minister “enlarged” his authority and wants the extension to be retracted.