Note: This website is a placeholder for the site that is expected to be launched in 2021.
About the project
The Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 (LAC19) project was launched in the fall 2020 and will provide a scholarly analysis of national legal responses to Covid-19 around the world. Updated across 2021, the editors are working with Oxford University Press to publish the first set of Country Reports in February 2021. It is the product of a vast collaboration of legal experts from across the world, led by University College London, King’s College London, the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. It is generously supported by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The project is motivated by the need for a comprehensive overview of national legal responses to Covid-19. The pandemic has many facets, and national responses have varied considerably. Quite apart from epidemiological performance, countries have employed emergency powers differently, have had different kinds of institutional disruption, diverged in public health measures, and have had variable social policy coverage and responses to the human rights needs of vulnerable groups. A scholarly overview of these legal responses is required both to assess past political choices and to prepare for future pandemics. Cataloguing them in detail will also be an important contribution to the history of the pandemic. However, the complexity and fluid nature of the subject-matter essentially requires an unconventional scholarly approach. To make the international comparisons valuable, it requires a high degree of coordination between distinguished national legal experts, a large editorial team applying a consistent methodology, and the capacity to change national portraits as the law and policy shifts in line with the evolution of the pandemic.
The project seeks to meet this need through a world-wide collaboration between legal scholars. The project’s core deliverables include a Compendium of Country Reports, a Database, and a Final Report covering best and worst practices in the views of the project’s Editorial Committee. All deliverables will be open-access and data will be held open-source. The project portal and further details are available on www.lexatlas-c19.org.
See further: Compendium / Database / Final Report / Team / Contact
The LAC19 Compendium
The Compendium will comprise between 60 - 80 national reports written by teams of distinguished national legal experts on the relevant country’s legal response to Covid-19. Each country’s team is headed by a Country Rapporteur, and in most cases the teams are composed of scholars with a diverse range of topical expertise. The individual country reports will be produced by reference to a comprehensive Author Guidance Code, to be updated as the project evolves but applied by all authors, addressing the following subjects:
I. Constitutional Framework (e.g., executive, legislative, division of powers)
II. Applicable Legal Framework (e.g., constitutional, statutory, exec rule-making)
III. Institutions and Oversight (e.g., legislatures, courts, press, scientific advice)
IV. Public Health Measures Imposed (e.g., quarantine, lockdown, travel, PPE)
V. Social and Economic Measures Adopted (e.g. social security, labour, business)
VI. Human Rights and Vulnerable Groups (e.g. privacy, race, gender, migrants)
Each report will range from between 15,000–20,000 words and is written in a neutral, non-judgmental tone. All entries are edited by Area Editors that sit jointly on the Editorial Committee and who ensure the outputs retain coherence and comparability. LAC19 is collaborating with Oxford University Press to publish the Compendium online, open-access, and for it to be updated three times across 2021. UCL, King’s College London, and the Max Planck Institute (Heidelberg) have agreed to fund the open-access charges for the Compendium, ensuring it is available permanently and freely to all. All web references to primary legal materials, which are given priority, will be archived and thus provide a permanently available archive of the primary law and government guidance relating to Covid-19. The first phase of country reports is in production and will be published in February 2021 and include 22 countries. These are Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong (SAR), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The second and third phases will be published between May and August 2021.
The LAC19 Database
The country reports will contain data that can be compared quantitatively. Such data relates to the type of law-making activity; the type of emergency powers used; whether legislatures or elections were suspended; whether online proceedings were used in courts; and the character and proliferation of a variety of public health and social policy measures. Whereas the Compendium will provide the legal and constitutional context as well as a description of the measures and related litigation, the Database will collate determinate and quantifiable data on these themes. It will allow users to conduct comprehensive cross-national comparisons and correlations with other known socio- economic, political and health data. Notably, the sample of countries in the study is selected with a view to diversity in the areas of region, income, legal system type, inequality, regime-type, and a variety of factors relating to rule of law, transparency, and ethnic division. It is also selected with regard to pandemic performance.
The LAC19 Final Report
The Final Report will be written by the Editorial Team, who will have the benefit of a global overview of the topics covered in the Compendium, fortified by communication with Country Rapporteurs and country report authors. Currently intended to be an open-access resource published by Oxford University Press, the Final Report will comprise:
an analytical overview of the data, identifying response trends and correlations to major socio- economic and health indicators; and
an in-depth critical analysis of various thematic areas (e.g. privacy, civil liberties, migration), discussing what the editors consider to be best and worst practices in relation to different themes.
The Final Report will emerge from two workshops held in London in the fall of 2021.
The LAC19 Website
The project’s website will be a portal to all of the project’s deliverables as well as access to the LAC19 network of Country Rapporteurs for academic researchers and policy-makers that have further inquiries about a particular country’s legal response to Covid-19. It will furthermore include webpages for each country in the study, detailing further developments, guest commentary, and references to secondary literature. The website will generally host blog contributions by the Editorial Committee, guest authors and by Country Rapporteurs on national experiences and key themes.
The lead investigators on the project are Professor Jeff King and Dr. Octavio Ferraz. The project is principally located at the Faculty of Laws, University College London. It is jointly supported by the School of Law at King’s College London, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.
One or more Country Rapporteurs are responsible for the content relating to particular countries and territories for the duration of the project. There is also an International Advisory Board and a Scientific Advisory Committee to advise on the social science elements of the project.
The Editorial Committee provides strategic direction and oversight of the project. They edit all Country Reports and will author the Final Report.
|Prof. Jeff King - Professor of Law, Faculty of Laws, University College London - Legal Adviser, UK House of Lords Constitution Committee - General Editor and Area Editor for Legal Framework, Institutions, and Social Policy.|
|Dr. Octavio Ferraz - Associate Professor of Law, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London - Co-Director, Transnational Law Institute - General Editor and Area Editor for Comparative Public Health Law.|
|Prof. Tendayi Achiume - Professor of Law, UCLA Law School - UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia - Area Editor for Migration and Race Relations.|
|Prof. Alan Bogg - Professor of Law, School of Law, Bristol University – Area Editor for Labour Law.|
|Dr. Natalie Byrom - Director of Research and Learning, Legal Education Foundation - UK Independent Reviewer of COVID-19 Adaptations to Courts) – Area Editor for Access to Justice.|
|Prof. Nicola Countouris - Professor of Labour Law and European Law, Faculty of Laws, University College London – Area Editor for Labour Law.|
|Prof. Cathryn Costello - Professor of Fundamental Rights - Co-Director of Centre for Fundamental Rights, at the Hertie School of Government, Berlin; Andrew W Mellon Professor of Refugee and Migration Law, University of Oxford (on leave) - Area Editor for Migrantion and Refugees.|
|Prof. Colleen Flood - Professor and Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa - Director of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics – Area Editor for Comparative Health Law.|
|Prof. Eva Pils - Professor of Law, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London – Area Editor for Authoritarianism.|
|Prof. Nico Steytler - South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development, Dullah Omar Institute of Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights, University of Western Cape – Area Editor for Federalism and Local Government.|
|Dr. Silvia Suteu - Senior Lecturer in Public Law, Faculty of Laws, University College London - Area Editor for Gender and Comparative Constitutionalism.|
|Dr. Bryan Thomas - Senior Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics – Area Editor for Comparative Health Law.|
|Dr. Michael Veale - Lecturer in Digital Rights and Regulation, Faculty of Laws, University College London - Area Editor for Information and Privacy.|
|Dr. Pedro Villarreal - Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg) – Area Editor for International and Comparative Health Law.|
Country rapporteurs include:
|Dr Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov, Senior Lecturer, Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law; Head of BIU LawData lab; Co-Chair, Israeli Association of Legislation - Rapporteur for Israel.|
|Dr Colleen M Flood, University Research Chair, Professor and Inaugural Director of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics - Rapporteur for Canada.|
|Dr Guillermo Jiménez, Professor of Public Law, Adolfo Ibáñez University - Rapporteur for Chile.|
|Dr Bogdan Iancu, Associate Professor, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Political Science - Rapporteur for Romania.|
|Prof Marius Pieterse, Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg - Rapporteur for South Africa.|
|Dr Dean Knight, Associate Professor; Faculty of Law and New Zealand Centre for Public Law; Victoria University of Wellington - Rapporteur for New Zealand.|
|Prof Stefano Civitarese Matteucci, Professor of public law, Department of legal and social studies, University of Chieti-Pescara; honorary professor at YorkLaw School - Rapporteur for Italy.|
|Dr Titti Mattsson, Professor of Public Law - Rapporteur for Sweden.|
|Dr Ana Nordberg, Associate senior lecturer, Faculty of Law, Lund University - Rapporteur for Sweden.|
|Dr Martina Axmin, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law, Lund University - Rapporteur for Sweden.|
|Professor Eirik Holmøyvik, Professor of Constitutional Law, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen - Rapporteur for Norway.|
|Dr Emmanuel Slautsky, Professor of Comparative Law and of Public Law, Université libre de Bruxelles (Centre de droit public); Affiliated Researcher at the KU Leuven (Leuven Center for Public Law) - Rapporteur for Belgium.|
|Dr Dolores Utrilla, Associate Professor of Administrative Law (non-tenured), University of Castilla-La Mancha - Rapporteur for Spain.|
|Prof Ivana Krstić, Professor of International Human Rights Law and International Public Law, Director of Human Rights Centre and Director of the Institute for Legal and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade - Rapporteur for Serbia.|
|Estelle Chambas, Teaching Assistant, PhD candidate, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), CERSA - Rapporteur for France.|
|Dr Stephen Thomson, Associate Professor, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong - Rapporteur for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.|
|Professor Aeyal Gross, Professor of Law, Tel-Aviv University. - Rapporteur for Israel.|
|Professor Ching-Fu Lin, Professor of Law, National Tsing Hua University - Rapporteur for Taiwan.|
Please get in touch with Prof. Jeff King (see his contact details on his UCL profile)