The rapid response to the pandemic in countries around the globe made the use of emergency powers both essential and attractive for governments. The Author Guidance Code (AGC) asked authors to answer a range of questions in their country reports. In responding to the pandemic, countries took variations in the constitutional framework for pandemic law-making. In this dataset, we split it into three main sections: Emergency Declaration, Covid-19 General Statute, and Other Emergency Powers Issues.
In the first section, Emergency Declaration, we hand-coded whether there had been a declaration of emergency announced at the national/federal level in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in each country. Further, we coded whethere declarations were constitutional and/or statutory, whether they required parliamentary scrutiny and whether had sunset provisions.
In the second section, Covid-19 General Statute, we hand-coded whether countries adopted a general statute specifically to address the Covid-19 pandemic. If the country adopted a general statute, we coded whether it was fast-tracked, whether there were political opposition and amendments, and whether it was subject to sunset provisions.
In the third section, Other Emergency Power Issues, we cover a combination of relevant topics: suspension of the bill of rights, elections, stay-at-home orders, parliamentary suspension, judicial review, and derogation.
How to use the dataset
Below, you can browse the Emergency Powers Dataset in three different formats: (i) by Country, (ii) the Full Dataset, and (iii) the Full Dataset with Coding only.
Browse by Country - Version: August, 2023
In this version, you can quickly check a specific country's Emergency Powers dataset. This is the most easily accessible format of the dataset. It also includes a link to the published report.
Emergency Powers Dataset and Codebook - Version: August, 2023
This version contains detailed information with the full codebook, with variable descriptions. Click here to open in full screen mode.
Emergency Powers Dataset, Coding Only - Version: August, 2023
This version contains only coding. For users who are willing to conduct quantitative analysis.
(14 countries - 30%)
(5 countries - 11%)
(19 countries - 40%)
(9 countries - 19%)
The European Union
Sunset clauses were widely used in in respect of emergency declarations, Covid-responsive statutes, and in individual public health regulations. Emergency declarations were accompanied by automatic expiry terms in the majority instances. A large majority of Covid-responsive statutes included sunset provisions.
Length of Sunset Provisions
Sunset periods of Emergency Declarations varied between 1-12 months. They ranged from 15 days in Portugal and the Canadian Province of British Columbia, to 6 months in Finland, to the case of Brazil where the declaration remained active until the expiry of the WHO’s declaration of a public health emergency of international concern.
Suspension of Bill of Rights
We can see that of the 48 countries, six either de jure or de facto suspended the protection of constitutional rights.
Judicial review remained available in principle and practice for challenging public health interventions in all cases, except for those of China, Ethiopia, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tunisia.