COVID-19 – Test for the World’s Legal Systems. Issue 2 (March 2021 – August 2022)

The key outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a challenge for the entire international community. Over the past two years, humankind has gotten used to the new virus and learned how to coexist with it. It was primarily reflected in the development of measures and special emergency response agencies at the universal, regional, and national levels. They include, for example, draft of the pandemic treaty, draft amendments to the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, and a new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) within the European Union. In some countries, temporary measures are transferred to the provisions of existing laws that are applied in emergencies.

The core measure in the fight against pandemic since 2021 is vaccination of the citizens. In most countries it is voluntary, but in the others there are requirements on compulsory vaccination of certain vulnerable groups of citizens.

Judicial practice has been accumulated during the research period. Due to the pandemic, the courts considered the issues of the separation of powers between the different levels and branches of government and the constitutionality of the introduced measures. Normally, restrictive measures were recognized as proportionate, the COVID-19 pandemic was not recognized as a universal force majeure circumstance. Besides that, the courts undermined attempts of executives and regions to enlarge their powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.