Covid and Free Speech in the High Court
11 April 2023
On 5 April 2023 the High Court handed down judgment in Adil v General Medical Council  EWHC 797 (Admin). The case examined the extent to which a professional regulator can interfere with the right to freedom of expression of an individual subject to its regulation, as well as the circumstances in which the Court should accept challenges to decisions made by regulators in the performance of their duties. It is the first case decided by the High Court concerning anti-vaccination statements made by a doctor in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions of the General Medical Council (“GMC”) in response.
Mr Adil is a consultant colorectal surgeon. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, he posted multiple videos on social media in which he, amongst other things, made statements to the effect that:
- COVID-19 did not exist;
- the pandemic was a conspiracy brought about by the United Kingdom, Israel and America;
- the pandemic was a scam which was being manipulated for the benefit of Bill Gates and pharmaceutical companies;
- Bill Gates infected the entire world with COVID-19 in order to sell vaccines; and
- COVID-19 vaccines would be given to everyone, by force if necessary, and could potentially contain microchips that affect the human body.
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