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MDX law expert spearheads global online discussion on COVID-19 emergency powers

The ‘COVID-19 and States of Emergency’ project which published 74 country reports highlighting how emergency powers were used could become a 'critical resource'.

A Middlesex University law expert has helped show how the use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly 80% of the world’s population through a major online discussion project.

Joelle Grogan, a Senior Lecturer in Law, coordinated the ‘COVID-19 and States of Emergency’ Symposium which was co-hosted by the journalistic and academic forum Verfassungsblog and Democracy Reporting International.

Between 6 April and 26 May, the Symposium published reports on Verfassungsblog from 74 countries worldwide on the use of emergency powers to tackle the COVID-19 global health crisis.

"This body of work, open access and available to everyone, will be a critical resource as we analyse best practice and also identify critical failings." Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in Law.

These country reports were accompanied by commentaries on the use of power in a state of emergency from the perspective of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

More than 100 experts which included former judges of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as professors and scholars of constitutional, public, and international law contributed to the Symposium.

Explaining why the project was so important, Joelle said: “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.

"Once the immediate crisis has passed, there will be an opportunity for states and international bodies to examine and review their constitutional and legal architecture, as well as health and crisis response preparedness.

"This body of work, open access and available to everyone, will be a critical resource as we analyse best practice and also identify critical failings.”

Dr Alice Donald, of Middlesex University Law School, and Professor Philip Leach from the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) contributed a commentary on human rights and COVID-19, while MDX Senior Lecturer in Law Dr Ciara Staunton produced a report on South Africa with her colleague Professor Melodie Labuschaigne from the University of South Africa which was referenced in a daily newspaper in the country.

As part of her research on the impact of COVID-19, Joelle has given interviews to the EUScreams podcast, The Times newspaper, and commented on its impact on Brexit for BBC news.

She has also been invited to present her COVID-19 research on panels including for the European Policy Centre on June 3, the New York Bar Association last Friday and as part of the RECONNECT project this Thursday June 18.

Find out more about studying Law at Middlesex University

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