This reminds me of the 'Jack Bauer fallacy' I sometimes talk about in the context of terrorism. It is correct that the public, in the throes of a crisis, sometimes signal that they want officials to 'throw off the red tape' and 'dispense with niceties to get things DONE'...
... and the most recent example pre COVID was the ticking bomb - you think a suspect has the location... do you torture? The argument for: we will save lives if the torture works. Argument against: we will fall below an essential standard that democratic societies don't torture..
... and you see this argument over public procurement. "Yes of course we broke the rules, wouldn't you have? I had a mate who could provide 200m masks tomorrow, no time for niceties... we saved many lives!" The approach is superficially attractive as how can you argue against...
... saving lives? But it's probably a fallacy. The reason you have public procurement rules against preferential treatment for mates is that it is an essential principle of a liberal democracy that public money isn't spent in a corrupt way, and it is clearly corrupt to dispense..
... with rules in a way which benefits your mates with large contracts (and whilst your intentions are relevant for any potential punishment they are not determinative of whether corruption has occurred). Now there will be instances where the 'red tape' is so absurdly...
... entangling that it prevents any decision making within a tight timescale, and I think that is the govt's basic argument here. But like the ticking bomb example, we set down rules and red lines in good times to help decision making in the bad times where the rules are...
... arguably even more important. And making out that the 'lawyers' or 'judges' are responsible for this by being the messengers when rules are broken is fallacious too. If you want to change the rules, you are the government, go ahead! It's not the lawyers' fault that you didn't

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More from @AdamWagner1

9 Jun
Another important decision. This is the full judgment:…

The claim succeeded on Ground 3, about real possibility of bias. Probably the most important ground as it isn't an attack on the specific contract but about the principle of fair administration
What I find so impressive about @GoodLawProject is they are taking an attritional approach - claim after claim all focussed on establishing principles of good administration. Very few public lawyers have the resources and strategic approach to achieve this
It's difficult to explain how difficult it is to bring a single public law case against the government - to find the right case, the enormous funds required to protect your clients... taking this kind strategic approach is almost impossible, but it's getting results.
Read 11 tweets
7 Jun
Here's a legal puzzle in three tweets

"26.—(1) The following Regulations are revoked—
(b)the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the International Travel Regulations”)"…

"(4) Nothing in these Regulations applies in relation to a person who arrived in England before 4.00 a.m. on 17th May 2021 (and accordingly, the regulations mentioned in paragraph (1) continue to have effect in relation to such a person)."

How can regulations both be revoked and continue to have effect?

Or is what is really happening that they have been revoked *except* for people who arrived before 4am on 17 May 2021?

Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
There are many important findings but from a Covid regulations perspective an important one is residents of the barracks were falsely imprisoned because they were told they couldn’t leave the site due to Covid regulations which was a misrepresentation of the law
Full judgment here:…

Could have important consequences for other instances where people have been kept in, for example, student accommodation by misrepresentations of the legal position
Read 5 tweets
25 May
This is strange - no change the law but ‘stealth guidance’ instead…
This is the guidance…
This is the first time, I think, that local guidance has significantly changed without any change to the law. The Steps regulations allow for local areas to be placed into different steps but to date this hasn’t happened.
Read 4 tweets
24 May
Over 35,000 people have been held in hotel detention since 15 Feb when the system was introduced.

Currently over 7,500 people…
The government cannot answer how many people have been given medical exemptions from hotel detention or how many people have asked for them…
I am dealing with lots of cases involving hotel detention at the moment. My sense is the system is a complete mess and the security company which is running the hotels is not able to deal with medical or other difficulties
Read 4 tweets
19 May
There is some confusion over the travel regulations and what has changed (and confusing messaging)

The truth is that policy over international travel has been confused throughout the pandemic, which suggests (to me, based on experience) policy disagreements

The government toyed with the idea that international travel was banned under the various "stay at home" regulations but it was only recently (29 March) when the Steps regulations came into force that international travel without a "reasonable excuse" was explicitly prohibited
The "don't travel outside the UK without a reasonable excuse" law lasted until Monday 18 May, so only about 7 weeks.

Hotel quarantine - though discussed since Feb 2020 - only came into law on 15 February 2021
Read 7 tweets

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