Investment Law in Corona Times: How Myths Fuel Injustice

One of the leitmotivs of the discourse around the pandemic is that ‘there cannot be going back to business as usual’ (see here and here). Yet, it is business as usual that is alarmingly looming in Corona times. In this context, at least two developments are worthy of note: the first is the much discussed risk of a wave of Covid-related investment claims. The second, possibly less noticed, is that countries are silently expanding the scope of a system that does not adequately strengthen sustainability in economic relations, despite laconic initiatives to this purpose.

Continue Reading →

States of Emergency

The fifty days of the ‘COVID-19 and States of emergency’ Symposium covered the height of the global legal reaction to the pandemic, offering a snapshot of countries in collective crisis. It began with a call for a global conversation on the kind of legal norms which should govern the situation of worldwide pandemic. This final contribution aims to trace the central themes, questions and issues raised by the Symposium.

Continue Reading →

Impacts of COVID-19 – The Global Access to Justice Survey

In addition to initiating a humanitarian crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is triggering multiple impacts (social, political, economic, environmental etc.) on the global stage, whose consequences – both negative and positive – were not only unforeseen, but remain unpredictable. We can be sure, however, that they will inevitably touch, one way or another, our justice and legal aid systems.

Continue Reading →

The Rule of Law Stress Test: EU Member States’ Responses to COVID-19

By mid-March, all EU member states were in a state of emergency, whether they officially declared one or not. Across the EU many human rights were severely restricted, particularly the right to free movement. Not every state of emergency is the same, however. Some exceed what is foreseen in international human rights law.

Continue Reading →

Democracy and the Global Emergency – Shared Experiences, Starkly Uneven Impacts

Curating analysis of these developments since early April through the COVID-DEM project, and reading across the 62 published contributions to this outstanding symposium, there are clear commonalities across all democracies affected. Beyond these commonalities, the effect of the COVID-19 response on the democratic system has been – and will be – starkly uneven across democracies worldwide, due to the different democratic ‘starting point’ of each state as the pandemic hit.

Continue Reading →

Is there a space for federalism in times of emergency?

In many legal cultures, federalism is the real “F word”. It stands for inequality, privileges, inefficiency. For many, there seems to be an inherent contradiction between the obvious requirement of a coordinated line of command in case of emergency and a pluralistic territorial structure. A closer look at the comparative practice shows a different picture. Has federalism really been an obstacle to effective decision-making? Or rather the opposite?

Continue Reading →

Human Rights – The Essential Frame of Reference in the Global Response to COVID-19

It is mistaken to conceive of COVID-19 principally as a threat whose eradication necessarily requires rights to be sacrificed. Rather, human rights standards and principles offer a means of transparently balancing competing interests and priorities in the cauldron of COVID-19 decision-making – and rights-respecting measures which secure public confidence are likely to be more effective and sustainable over time than arbitrary or repressive ones.

Continue Reading →

Dissecting Covid-19 Derogations

Does the pandemic require derogation from human rights treaties? This question has sparked significant debate, notably spurred by Alan Greene’s provocative argument that failing to derogate would denature ordinary human rights law and leave the start and end points of the crisis unclear. Others disagree: Scheinin argues the principle of normalcy, contained in General Comment […]

Continue Reading →

COVID-19 and the Need for a Holistic and Integral Approach to Human Rights Protection

While the pandemic is global, the challenges the individual regions are currently facing in their combat against COVID-19 are different and specific. In Latin America, the combat is embedded in a context of deep social and economic inequality, systematic violence and poverty. As the crisis is likely to exacerbate these structural inequalities it is clear that its implications must be examined in the light of human rights and in the light of intersectionality.

Continue Reading →

The Law of the WHO, COVID-19 and the Multilateral World Order

A new virus, SARS-CoV-2, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Infected persons developed an atypical form of pneumonia, later known as COVID-19. The pathogen created a pandemic, with fatalities throughout the world, and also led to the adoption of restrictive measures which were, until recently, unthinkable, as well as fostering new political conflicts. Even the path of the multilateral order in its current form is at stake. For a take on these issues under international law, the legal regime of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its response to the pandemic provides an insightful access.

Continue Reading →