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2021-05-13

LaworFiction report on their case about the compulsory wearing of masks in English (and I assume Welsh) schools (Scotland has a different legal system and it's not clear how much this ruling affects Scotland, if at all).

"It is good news that it seems masks will no longer be encouraged in classrooms from 17 May"

"We know from the school's evidence in this case that it, like most others, relied on the government Guidance in respect of its risk assessment. But we also know, from government responses elsewhere, that the government admits to making no assessment of the harms from masks other than to survey of the views of 'stakeholders' such as teachers unions. So who is assessing the risks?"

"The Government has controlled schools and businesses through guidance, fear and largely empty threats that failing to follow the guidance would be a breach of the Health and Safety as Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In truth, it is precisely by failing to assess harms of 'covid secure' policies in schools and premises that those same laws have been breached, failing us and our children"

There are still perhaps some pitfalls to this judgement since the judge appears to have taken a rather narrow view of the case before him.

There is clearly argument to be made that the government by not making any risk assessment has acted in an unsafe manner in providing advice that masks should be worn in order to enhance safety - so the government may be thought to be acting illogically, but whether that is a legal issue or not may need to be tested separately in court.

Read the case updates here.