Lex-Atlas: Covid-19: A Comparative Study of National Legal Responses to COVID-19.

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Laws

Abstract

Original application: 'The project's core deliverables are a Compendium, a Database and a Final Report by fourteen internationally distinguished scholars on the legal responses to Covid-19 in 80 countries across all regions of the world.

The Compendium comprises 80 national reports written by local legal experts on the relevant country's response to Covid-19, covering: (1) the constitutional/legal framework; (2) the functioning of institutions (e.g. legislatures, courts); (3) the core public health measures adopted; (4) the social and economic measures adopted; and (5) key legal measures in respect of civil liberties and vulnerable groups.

The Database collates determinate and quantifiable data on these themes, allowing users to conduct comprehensive cross-national comparisons and correlations with other known socio-economic, political and health data.

The Final Report will comprise:

1. an analytical overview of the data, identifying response trends and correlations to major socio-economic and health indicators; and
2. an in-depth critical analysis of various thematic areas (e.g. privacy, civil liberties, migration), proposing best and worst practices in relation to different themes as well as overall state performance.

The deliverables provide critical comparative data for the assessment of the UK's response to Covid-19 as well as for future pandemic preparedness, in general and with particular reference to several topics and questions identified as critical by UKRI: economic, gender and race inequalities; security and justice; national recovery and transformation; contact tracing; and national security and foreign policy. The project's dissemination plans include a clear and viable impact pathway into decision-making in the UK Parliament as well as in Whitehall.'

From the www.lexatlas-c19.org website, more media friendly:

"The Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 (LAC19) project was launched in the fall 2020 and will provide a scholarly analysis of national legal responses to Covid-19 around the world. Updated across 2021, it will be published open-access by Oxford University Press. It is the product of a vast collaboration of legal experts from across the world, led by University College London, King's College London, the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and generously supported by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The project is motivated by the need for a comprehensive overview of national legal responses to Covid-19. The pandemic has many facets, and national responses have varied considerably. Quite apart from epidemiological performance, countries have employed emergency powers differently, have had different kinds of institutional disruption, diverged in public health measures, and have had variable social policy coverage and responses to the human rights needs of vulnerable groups. A scholarly overview of these legal responses is required both to assess past political choices and to prepare for future pandemics. Cataloguing them in detail will also be an important contribution to the history of the pandemic. However, the complexity and fluid nature of the subject-matter essentially requires an unconventional scholarly approach. To make the international comparisons valuable, it requires a high degree of coordination between distinguished national legal experts, a large editorial team applying a consistent methodology, and the capacity to change national portraits as the law and policy shifts in line with the evolution of the pandemic.

The project seeks to meet this need through a world-wide collaboration between legal scholars. The project's core deliverables include a Compendium of Country Reports, a Database, and a Final Report covering best and worst practices in the views of the project's Editorial Committee. All deliverables will be open-access and data will be held open-source. The project portal and further details are available at www.lexatlas-c19.org."

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