- 08 Oct 20
In a case that could have huge ramifications here in Ireland, the Spanish government has been told that they're in breach of the law
In a case that could have huge ramifications throughout EU member countries including Ireland, the Madrid High Court has ruled against fines being imposed on people who are breaking the various Health Ministry lockdown restrictions, which are in place in large swathes of the capital and many other cities with a population in excess of 100,000. At present, 5.2 million people nationwide are having their actions and movements limited in an attempt to bring down big spikes in new Covid-19 cases.
According to leading Spanish daily newspaper El Paix, "The court reached its decision on the basis that the measures infringe on citizens' fundamental rights. As a result of the decision, fines cannot be levied on citizens who break the rules and the continuance of the restrictions themselves is now hanging in the balance.
"The High Court will now also have to rule on whether or not to suspend the restrictions as a precautionary measure while it considers the Madrid government’s appeal," the report continues. "The region has 10 days from the time it presented the appeal to file its arguments against the central government’s actions, which in turn will then have to be considered in a period of five days by judges.
"The ruling from the Madrid High Court comes despite support for the new measures on the part of the public prosecutor, whose report stated that they were in line with “criteria of proportionality” given the high risk of coronavirus infections in Madrid and on the basis that 'the right to life and to health' should take precedence over any other consideration."
The earliest that the Madrid government's appeal will be heard is Tuesday October 13. If unsuccessful, they could take it all the way to the EU Court of Justice, which may very well end up having the final word on this and other legal challenges to lockdown in other member states. In Ireland, this week has seen the Press-Up Group, which includes the Stella Cinemas, the Dean and Clarence hotels, the Power Gym, and the likes of Peruke & Periwig, The Liquor Rooms and The Workman's Club, attempting to sue the state over the enforced closure of their businesses. The Madrid High Court decision might embolden others to follow.