Courts in times of crisis: the Portuguese experience

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge for constitutional checks and balances and fundamental rights' protection mechanisms; Portugal has been no exception, and although the courts' supervisory role over emergency action remained intact throughout the pandemic, an interesting discussion about their role in judging public officials’ decisions in times of emergency has been going on.
Judicial review of emergency measures has been targeting different issues. From the application of several “emergency exceptions” and judicial deadlines’ suspensions in criminal cases, to the review of limitations on inter-municipal circulation and restrictions to freedom of assembly in administrative courts, the issues have been many. Mandatory confinements have been one of the most complex constitutional questions under scrutiny. These examples will be the basis for a reflection upon the role of courts in times of emergency, and the adequacy of judicial remedies in times of crisis.