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Analysing legal and political action in response to COVID-19

Joelle Grogan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law; Research Fellow at the CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest; and co-Director of The Good Lobby Profs with Laurent Pech. She created and led two online symposia, the 2020 'COVID-19 and States of Emergency' between April-May 2020, and 'Power and the COVID-19 Pandemic' between February - May 2021. Hosted by the Verfassungsblog, and supported by Democracy Reporting International and the Horizon-2020 RECONNECT project, the Symposia analysed action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 70 countries worldwide.

The Symposia brought together 100+ expert contributors globally to reflect on how legal and political systems have adapted to ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and to offer recommendations on the future of good governance and emergency response. Contributors from 70+ countries were drawn from diverse fields of constitutional, international and human rights law in addition to representatives from NGOs, the legal profession, and the judiciary. From Middlesex University, Alice Donald and Philip Leach contributed commentaries on human rights and COVID-19, while Ciara Staunton contributed a report on data governance, and also a report on South Africa with her colleague Melodie Labuschaigne (University of South Africa). Elvira DomĂ­nguez-Redondo contributed a report on Spain with Alicia Cebada Romero (Universidad Carlos III Madrid).

As part of her research on the impact of COVID-19 on legal systems, Joelle led Democracy Reporting International's 'Rule of law Stress Test', which surveyed and evaluated EU countries' responses to the pandemic from a rule of law perspective. Joelle's report identified five points of critical and transversal concern in the EU, including issues of legality, legal certainty, and a lack of governmental accountability. (Read CNN's coverage of her report here)

Launching in September 2021, Joelle will join Alicia Ely Yamin (Petrie Flom Centre at Harvard Law School) and Pedro Villarreal (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law) in leading a digital symposium on the Verfassungsblog on the future of pandemic law-making. The Symposium will bring together international scholars in the fields of law, politics, public health, bioethics, economics and social sciences to discuss and inform plans for a potential international treaty on pandemic preparedness and response.

As part of her policy work and research on pandemic response, Joelle has given oral evidence to the UK House of Lords, the French Assemblée Nationale, and the European Parliament. She has been appointed as Expert Advisor to the European Economic and Social Committee. Her work on COVID-19 has also been widely cited in the media by, among others, the Financial Times, the EU Observer, and The Times.

With Alice Donald, Joelle is the editor of the forthcoming book, the Routledge Handbook on Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic (2022). The book will bring together 25 country case study chapters, in addition to commentaries on transversal themes including science and decision-making; the future of democracy; and the importance of public trust in governance and emergency.

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