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Mother launches judicial review challenge over decision not to close schools in Northern Ireland over coronavirus outbreak

Lawyers acting for a mother with a child at primary school in County Armagh have said they intend to apply for emergency judicial review of the decision not to close schools across Northern Ireland.

Phoenix Law said their client’s daughter suffers underlying health problems, including severe asthma, and is therefore at greater risk of harm should she contract the coronavirus.

Notice of the intention to bring the legal action has been sent to Northern Ireland’s Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, the Education Authority and the CCMS (Council for Catholic Maintained Schools).

The law firm said: “It is our client’s case that the current position is unlawful and contrary to the necessary protections afforded to all citizens under the Human Rights Act.”

Darragh Mackin, a partner at Phoenix Law, said: “It is clear that the respective public bodies have each failed in their respective obligations to our client, and indeed all children, by continuing to require their attendance at school in circumstances in which they would be at an increased risk of contracting the condition.

“There is no time for any further delay. The necessary policies and decisions all need to be taken in a manner that recognises the real and immediate risk.”

He added: “It is a deplorable situation when a mother has to initiate urgent legal proceedings to ensure that her child, and indeed children across the jurisdiction, are afforded the necessary protections and safeguards required under the law.”

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