- 20 Jan 21
75-year-old Morrison performed at the London Palladium last September, causing controversy after writing three anti-lockdown tracks.
The Belfast artist is commencing judicial review proceedings against Stormont regulations that prohibit live music in indoor licensed venues.
Hospitality and entertainment venues are currently closed as part of a six-week lockdown in the North. Just like in the Republic of Ireland, live music has not been allowed when hospitality venues have been opened with less severe restrictions in the region.
Solicitor Joe Rice, Morrison's representative, said live music had not been defined in Northern Ireland’s coronavirus regulations. - with effectively a blanket ban imposed on every type of performer.
He pointed out that live music had been permitted in pre-lockdown England under the tiering system after the suitable risk assessments had been conducted.
Rice stated that his client will argue the ban in Northern Ireland is unsustainable in law and is not based on credible scientific or medical evidence.
Morrison has previously accused the Government of taking people’s freedom and alleged scientists were making up “crooked facts” to justify restrictions to “enslave” the population.
Mr Rice has issued pre-action letters to Stormont’s Executive Office and the Department of Health, calling on ministers to make the medical and scientific basis for the regulation public.
If the ban is not lifted, Morrison will seek leave from the High Court in Belfast to challenge the prohibition by way of judicial review.
“Many people in the music and arts world in Northern Ireland have been devastated financially, socially and artistically by this complete ban," Mr Rice wrote.
“This differs from the law in England and Wales and the evidence behind such a negative decision in this jurisdiction is far from obvious.
“Sir Van is taking this action on behalf of the thousands of musicians, artists, venues and those involved in the live music industry.
“He has been supporting many artists throughout this pandemic and is determined to ensure that, as we endeavour to emerge safely from this lockdown, artists and musicians will have a proper opportunity to play their part through live music to restore the cultural, social and economic wellbeing and success of our society.”
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