On Monday 1 June, the Government amended The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 to state:
“No person may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living.”
The English and world media covered this extensively but it would appear that this is unenforceable.
What is overnight? Is it:
- Between the hours of darkness – currently 22.30 to 03.30
- An eight hour period
- A twelve-hour period
- For two minutes between hours unknown
- For more than an hour between hours unknown
It is disappointing that the UK Government has amended a regulation that is ambiguous and, I believe, thus unenforceable.
This means that any Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued in relation to this amendment must be revoked; all monies paid for any FPN issued reimbursed, and the regulation itself revisited.
As a result, until such time as the regulation is once again amended or new regulations introduced, it would seem to be lawful to stay “overnight” in a place in which you do not live, in England.
Furthermore, Police Forces must be informed not to issue any FPN in relation to this regulation.
Test Case – Public Spirit
To facilitate a test case of the regulation last night, in an act of the public spirit, I believe I may have stayed “overnight” in Whitby, which is not the place where I live. Of course, I may not have stayed “overnight” as I am unaware of what “overnight” is, as per the regulation.
A delightful “overnight” view
I have informed Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill and East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight of my staying “overnight” to give the Government the opportunity to issue me a FPN and to facilitate taking a test case against me, or to revisit the regulation.
I will always respect the law as I believe others must do also. Unfortunately, with this regulation the UK Government ironically may be guilty of not respecting the law if they issue a FPN in relation to it.