Appendix 1: CPS Guidance on What Constitutes a “Reasonable Excuse” For Leaving Your Home

21 April 2020. Updated 25 April 2020.

This is the guidance produced by the Crown Prosecution Service, regurgitated by the College of Policing for police officers, summarising what is and isn’t considered a “reasonable excuse” for leaving your home. It only applies to England, so I asked an Irish barrister – Ciarán McCollum – to expand it for the other nations in the United Kingdom and his summary is underneath.

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Robert Liddell
Robert Liddell
1 month ago

It would be great if someone would clarify the situation in Scotland. In England it has been made clear that it is reasonable to drive to a walk, but the guidance (or is it the law?) here seems to be that only walking from home is acceptable. For where I live, as for many places, there are places close by one could drive to for exercise, but local paths around the town are crowded.
We also have lots of paths, parks and estates which have been closed illegally, but he Scottish Government does not seem to be doing anything active about it.

Ciarán McCollum
Ciarán McCollum
1 month ago

Government guidance is not strictly speaking law although police do sometimes use guidance to interpret the law. Reading the above document from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, which was written for police officers to help them see the difference between the two, will make that more clear.

As I said in my own summary, also above, the Scottish (as well as the Northern Irish and, with some minor variance, the Welsh) Regulations are essentially identical to the English ones. Scottish police may interpret them slightly differently from English, but they can’t move from the letter of the Regulations; not, at least, without opening themselves up to legal challenge.

There is nothing in the Regulations about not jumping in the car to exercise. I see guidance in Scotland to stay ‘as close to your local area as possible.’ If you can’t exercise by walking out the door, you certainly have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel by car.

If you read my summary it might give you further reassurance. I’ve also just found an article in the independent with similar conclusions:

Have a pleasant stroll!

Robert Liddell
Robert Liddell
1 month ago

Thank you

25 days ago

Thanks very much Ciarán! That is very helpful for understanding the regulations and also for checking that the authorities are not being over-zealous and going against the letter of the law.

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