Reg 9 of the Scottish Coronavirus regulations on gatherings in private dwellings — updated text

one of the difficulties in keeping up to speed on the Coronavirus regulations is that even after a consolidation of regulations in one text, they are often swiftly amended by others.

The current consolidated text is in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020/ 279) which is found here. But it has already been amended today by The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020/300) which is found here)

One of the difficulties in piecing together legislation where there are amendments is that the amendments rarely repeal and replace provisions but insert new wordings into existing provisions. Therefore to try to give a comprehensible current text I have tried to update the text of regulation 9 which relates to prohibitions on gatherings in private dwellings (pending the update on the www.legislation.gov.uk website) with some of the key definitions..

This is the provision which stops households mixing indoors.

Restriction on gatherings in private dwellings

9. — (1) A person must not attend a gathering in a private dwelling, unless the gathering —

(a) takes place outdoors and consists of no more than six persons from no more than two households,

(aa) takes place outdoors and —

(i) where at least one person in the gathering has attained 12 years of age but has not attained 18 years of age, consists of no more than six persons who are all under 18 years of age, or

(ii) all the persons in the gathering are under 12 years of age,

(b) is for the purpose of —

(i) work or providing voluntary or charitable services,

(ii) childcare, education or training,

(iii) facilitating a house move,

(iv) facilitating shared parenting arrangements,

(c) is a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration,

(d) is taking place in student accommodation, where all the persons in the gathering —

(i) are using cooking, dining, toilet or washing facilities which are shared with any person who is not a member of their household, and

(ii) have the accommodation as their only or main residence.

(2) For the purpose of paragraph (1)(a), children under 12 years of age are not to be included when counting the number of persons or households attending a gathering.

(3) In this regulation, “gathering” has the meaning given by regulation 8(2).

Two key ideas are in this regulation

Gathering is defined by reg 8 (2)

“In this regulation, “gathering” means a situation where two or more persons, who are not members of the same household, are present together in a place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other.”

Household is defined in reg 2

““household” means —

(a) one person living alone, or

(b) a group of persons living together in the same place as a family or other unit (whether or not related) and who have the place as their only or main residence”

and private dwelling is also defined in reg 2

““private dwelling” means a caravan, houseboat or any building, or part of a building, used or intended to be used as a dwelling (including any garden or yard and any indoor passage or stair, outhouse or other structure of the dwelling) but does not include —

(a) accommodation in a hotel, hostel, members club, boarding house or bed and breakfast,

(b) accommodation provided by a care home service, within the meaning of paragraph 2 of schedule 12 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010,

(c) accommodation for children at a residential establishment, within the meaning of section 93(1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995,

(d) school boarding accommodation, within the meaning of paragraph 10(5) of schedule 16 of the Coronavirus Act 2020,

(e) accommodation intended for use by the army, navy or air force,

(f) a prison,

(g) a young offenders institution, within the meaning of section 19(1)(b) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989),

(h) secure accommodation, within the meaning of section 108 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016(10),

(i) a remand centre, within the meaning of section 19(1)(a) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989,”

When a definition provides that a word or expression “means” something then the definition is exhaustive.

Regulation 11 provides a power to enter premises if a police officer reasonably suspects the prohibition is being contravened.

Breach of regulation 9 is an offence under reg 15 and the penalty is a fixed penalty notice under reg 16. The police have powers to break up gatherings which contravene reg 9 and to direct those attending to return home under reg 14 (6)

(6) Where a relevant person considers that persons are gathered together in contravention of regulation 8, 9 or 10, the relevant person may —

(a) direct the gathering to disperse,

(b) direct any person in the gathering to return to the place where the person is living, or

(c) remove any person in the gathering to the place where the person is living.

(7) A relevant person may only exercise a power in paragraph (3), (4) or (6) if the relevant person considers that it is a necessary and proportionate means of ensuring compliance with the requirement.

(8) A relevant person exercising a power under paragraph (3), (4) or (6) may give the person concerned any reasonable instructions the relevant person considers necessary.

(9) A constable, exercising the power in paragraph (6)© to remove a person to the place where the person is living, may use reasonable force, if necessary, in exercise of the power..

Law lecturer. Interest in Scots property law, conveyancing, debt and insolvency, statutory interpretation and legislation.