Court says COVID regulations that forced churches to closed in Scotland are unlawful.
March 24, 2021
A coalition of 27 church leaders launched a judicial review at the Court of Session arguing the Scottish government acted beyond their powers under emergency legislation.
In a ruling issued by Lord Braid, he said the Scottish government’s COVID restrictions on churches went too far.
The Scottish government said it would carefully consider the findings and its implications.
The ruling comes two days before communal worship is due to resume. But Lord Braid said those who brought the judicial review were entitled to have the regulations declared unlawful.
He said the Scottish government regulations disproportionately interfered with the freedom of religion secured in the European Convention on Human Rights.
He added: “It is impossible to measure the effect of those restrictions on those who hold religious beliefs.
“It goes beyond mere loss of companionship and an inability to attend a lunch club.”
Canon White, parish priest of St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow, told the BBC: “I’m overjoyed to hear that the court has understood the essential need to protect not only the physical and material health of our society but also its spiritual needs and therefore overturned the disproportionate, unnecessary and unlawful blanket ban on public worship.”
A further hearing will now take place so potential remedies can be discussed.