Emergency Law Responses and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Global State of Democracy Thematic Paper 2021   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "In response to the Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, governments have implemented a variety of extraordinary legal and policy measures to protect lives, mitigate the spread of the virus within and beyond state borders, and prevent health systems from breaking down. These measures have often included curbing some human rights, restricting travel, shuttering up classrooms, suspending government services, ordering the temporary closure of businesses, controlling or curtailing news reporting, and sometimes delaying elections. To do this, many governments have activated emergency legal frameworks that provide for the assumption of substantial emergency powers by the executive and the weakening or setting aside of ordinary democratic checks and balances. [...] In order to assess whether or how the Covid-19 emergency has impacted democracy over both the short and longer term, it is helpful to understand the different types of emergency laws relied upon (or not) by governments to justify their assumption of emergency powers and their imposition of emergency measures. This thematic paper examines and compares different types of legal bases for emergency powers, built-in safeguards and constraints specific to each type of emergency regime, the factors that may influence choices about which emergency legal response to apply, and the associated advantages and risks."

2021 International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
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International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: https://www.idea.int/
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