This paper addresses the legal reactions of several Western European democracies to COVID-19. It first offers an overview of whether and how the constitutions of selected Western European countries regulate emergency, so as to attempt a categorisation of emergency powers. Secondly, the analysis considers whether (or not) these emergency models were applied in the fight against the pandemic caused by COVID-19. In doing so, it finds out that resort to emergency powers as written in constitutions was unusual as a response to the pandemic, since many countries preferred alternative strategies. The conclusion points out that a sort of ‘escape’ from pre-existing emergency powers could be observed and discusses the reasons that may lie behind this choice. Furthermore, the authors provide recommendations as to changes that might be introduced once COVID-19 is over, to improve emergency frameworks and make them suitable to face global emergencies.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. We will be announcing more details about the conference soon, including financial support to early career and global south scholars!