High Court Blocks Crowdfunded Action To Halt 5G

A High Court judge has blocked a crowdfunded legal effort to force a judicial review into the rollout of 5G networks.

Action Against 5G raised more than £160,000 for its case using the Crowdjustice platform and employed lawyers including human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC.

The group said it would continue in its efforts to stop 5G networks from being built, saying it is “supported by many people nationwide from all walks of life including doctors and scientists”.

It argues the radiation from 5G networks poses a risk to citizens.

Radiation fears

The action was brought on behalf of three complainants, one of whom, Rosalyn Rock, claims she began feeling ill in April 2020 due to exposure to 5G.

A member of the action’s legal team, Lorna Hackett of Hackett and Dabbs, also claims she felt ill after being shown a 5G base station near Rock’s home in Chiswick, west London, in September 2020.

The legal document outlining the case claims Hackett “experienced a sharp pain in her head, which subsided almost immediately she moved away from the masts” and that even afterward “felt unable to think clearly” and “did not feel capable of driving”.

But High Court judge Mrs. Justice Foster has now refused the group’s application for a judicial review, saying its allegations about 5G’s safety disagree with accepted research.

“The real issue is that the claimants disagree with a large body of international opinion as to the safety of 5G,” Foster wrote in her ruling.

‘Rational’ basis

Decisions about the technology’s rollout were for the government and the technical advice it had received “does not support the claimants’ concerns”, the decision reads.

Foster noted the government had set out its “rational, scientifically based” view that there is “nothing fundamentally different about the physical characteristics of the radio signals produced by 5G compared to those produced by 3G and 4G”.

In its defence the government cited advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England saying that 5G is safe.

The judge also agreed with with the government’s argument that the case had been brought too late, in 2020, after operators began rolling out their networks in 2019 and the government published its 5G strategy in 2017.

Writing to its donors on the Crowdjustice website, Action Against 5G said it would continue its campaign.

Crowdfunding controversy

“Without delay the amazing Michael Mansfield QC, and barristers Philip Rule and Lorna Hackett, have swiftly lodged a renewal notice seeking permission for a hearing,” the group wrote.

The case raises questions about crowdfunded legal actions, which are not regulated.

Barrister Barbara Rich told the BBC that contributors to such actions “do not have a right to any information about a case – its prospects of success, or what its real outcome might be if it does succeed, or even what the lawyers engaged are charging – beyond what its promoter chooses to tell them”.

She noted that crowdfunding has grown in importance because there is little or no legal aid available for many types of cases.

Health consequences

Public Health England said in a statement that there may be a “small increase” in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is launched in an existing network or a new area.

“However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health,” the body said.

“PHE is committed to monitoring the evidence applicable to this and other radio technologies, and to revising its advice, should that be necessary.”

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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