The Netherlands: Of Rollercoasters and Elephants

The Dutch authorities take a quasi-legal, quasi-rhetorical approach to shape their intelligent lockdown and try to tame the pandemic beast, with questionable constitutional practices as a result. While the reliance on medical and other expertise might be a welcome difference compared to some other countries, overreliance on experts in communication may hide real political and legal choices that have been made.

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Bangladesh’s Unofficial Emergency: Managing the COVID-19 Crisis by Notifications

It appears that Bangladesh’s legal responses to the COVID-19 crisis are inconsistent, ad hoc, and deficient in transparency and democratic practices. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic requiring exceptionally urgent actions, may be attributed to the sorry state of affairs. A thoughtful, more legitimate approach could nevertheless have been taken.

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State of Emergency Through the Back Door

One of the problems for Indonesia’s government when dealing with the coronavirus crisis was its non-transparent approach towards the public. Not least because of that, many people in Indonesia do not trust the government when it comes to handling the pandemic. The government’s attempt to declare the civilian emergency status which would have enabled it to control the flow of information has failed due to public opposition. A move by its police chief, however, is now trying to introduce emergency powers through the back door and in blatant disregard of a Constitutional Court ruling.

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The State of Emergency Virus

The current pandemic is said to be the worst health crisis the world has experienced for a century. Beyond causing thousands to die and millions to lose their jobs, it has also caused more than ever before governments to declare a state of emergency and, thus, to considerably broaden their own competencies. Previous experience, however, has shown that governments do not use their additional powers to save lives but, rather, to make themselves better off. Considering that more than half of the world’s democracies have declared a state of emergency, the rule of law will be subject to a number of dangers in the following months.

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The Constitutionalized State of Emergency

The late Giovanni Sartori once said that we lacked a general theory of dictatorship. It is very likely that we are also short of a theory of emergency. As the current pandemic has come to show us, not only we still have difficulties to include emergency into our conception of constitutional law; we seem to differ on what emergency means and necessitates and on what should be its place in the functioning of the democratic State.

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Covid-19 and Derogations Before the European Court of Human Rights

Many argue that derogations, permitted under many human rights instruments, provide a useful framework for assessing whether any human rights infringements that arise from emergency provisions adopted in response to Covid-19 are justified. Drawing on jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) in relation to Northern Ireland, this post argues that it is likely that the vast majority of cases exploring derogation will be found in a government’s failure.

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Canada the Good?

Canada is in almost full emergency mode in its bid to flatten the pandemic curve. But so far the federal government has not declared a federal state of emergency in terms of the Emergencies Act (1985), although it has discussed publicly the pros and cons of taking this step and has been urged to do so on the basis that such a declaration would enable a nationwide testing program. There are four main reasons for this hesitation to declare a national state of emergency.

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Against the Apocalyptic Swan Song

Gloomy future scenarios are currently popular. Hardly a day goes by without predictions of the demise of the EU, a spiral of nationalism or the path to an authoritarian, xenophobic surveillance state. However, in the current competition to outbid disaster scenarios, we tend to forget that political developments are just as little inevitable and without alternatives as crisis response measures. The choice between alternatives still exists and is more important today than ever.

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Governing Through Fear in France

The present pandemic affects our ways of life and acts as a magnifying glass: It helps us to see the main features of our political and legal systems better. In France, the Act of Parliament from March, 23 reveals a well-known feature of the French fifth Republic: Parliament is not considered as a major political institution. Furthermore, it reveals yet again that the state of emergency has become common since 2015.

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When the Coronavirus Crisis Turns into a Crisis of Democracy

The ongoing political crisis in Israel raises the question of whether the government acts fully in good faith when deciding on measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. The current situation, in which the parliament is hindered from functioning and in which emergency regulations directly benefit the personal situation of the current Prime Minister, raises doubts about this.

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