Big Brother Watch issues legal claim against Welsh Ministers over “unevidenced” Covid Pass scheme

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 — Big Brother Watch

Big Brother Watch Team

Big Brother Watch issues legal claim against Welsh Ministers over “unevidenced” Covid Pass scheme

  •  Civil liberties NGO issues claim in judicial review of Welsh Covid pass scheme
  •  Reasons for Covid pass scheme seen by Big Brother Watch “don’t stand up to scrutiny” – but the Welsh government so far refuses to agree to publish them in full
  •  Big Brother Watch vows to apply to the Court to publish court papers setting out the Welsh Government’s “remarkably weak” justification for Covid passes
  •  Campaigners call to end the “draconian, discriminatory and pointless” Covid pass scheme

Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch has issued a legal claim against Welsh Ministers over mandatory Covid Passes, arguing that the scheme is unlawful as it is disproportionate and unevidenced.

Big Brother Watch is pursuing a judicial review of the Welsh Covid pass scheme and full disclosure of the documents and advice that led Welsh Ministers to implement it. The group is ultimately seeking a court order quashing mandatory Covid passes.

The legal challenge follows weeks of correspondence between Big Brother Watch’s lawyers and the Welsh government, leaving the campaign group to conclude that the reasons given for Covid passes “don’t stand up to scrutiny”. However, Welsh Ministers have so far refused to agree to Big Brother Watch’s repeated requests to publish their correspondence. The civil liberties group is now applying to the court for permission to publish their legal claim which quotes from the correspondence “in the interests of open justice”.

Further, Welsh Ministers have refused to disclose expert evidence and advice they say they relied on when making the decision to pursue mandatory Covid passes, despite the threat of a legal challenge. Big Brother Watch said the case for Covid passes presented so far is “exceptionally weak” and that, the scheme would be stopped if it were being monitored properly.

Big Brother Watch’s challenge claims that the mandatory Covid pass scheme involves “significant and far-reaching” rights interferences and results in “a fundamental alteration in the relationship between private persons, by forcing sensitive matters of personal significance to be revealed between strangers as a condition of exercising freedom of access to places, gatherings of people and the provision of services in the public sphere.”

Big Brother Watch is leading the campaign against mandatory Covid passes across the UK, and is backed by over 7,600 members of the public who have crowdfunded to support the campaign. Big Brother Watch has also initiated a legal challenge against mandatory Covid passes in England, and is urging the UK Government to scrap the English scheme by the end of January.

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

“We support proportionate measures to protect public health, but there is exceptionally weak evidence supporting the role of Covid passes.

“We’re calling on the Welsh Government to disclose the documents and advice they say they’re relying on to impose the Covid pass scheme on people in Wales. Their refusal to do so raises suspicions that the government’s case is weak or non-existent. The reluctance to be transparent now even extends to an unwillingness to consent to Big Brother Watch publishing the legal papers from its own claim, presumably because they quote from correspondence that attempts to justify the scheme.

“If Covid passes are having no noticeable effect on public health in Wales, as appears to be the case, there is simply no justification for them. Mandatory Covid IDs are a disproportionate intrusion of medical privacy, an erosion of freedom and a threat to equality.

“Covid passes have been proven to fail and we are pursuing this important legal challenge to ensure that these draconian, discriminatory and pointless internal health passports are scrapped.”

Shirin Marker, Solicitor at Bindmans who is representing Big Brother Watch, said:

“In maintaining the Covid Pass Scheme, the Welsh Government is exercising an unprecedented level of control over the rights and freedoms of the public. In these circumstances, it is essential that the Welsh Government is transparent about what evidence they have relied upon to impose the scheme.

“Unfortunately, to date, such evidence has not been forthcoming.

“It is also important that the legal process on a matter of public interest like this is transparent, which is why we are seeking the Court’s permission to allow Big Brother Watch to fully publish details of its claim.”


Big Brother Watch has instructed Charlotte Kilroy QC of Blackstone Chambers, Joseph Barrett of 11KBW, and John Halford and Shirin Marker of Bindmans LLP

Spokespeople are available for interviews. Contact Big Brother Watch’s 24h media line on 07730439257 or email

Big Brother Watch’s campaign page is at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.