Emergencies, Fundamental Rights and Covid-19: Czech Experience

Covid-19 has thoroughly tested emergencies in the Czech law. The Cabinet repeatedly took a recourse to state of emergency, including the introduction of unprecedented limitations of fundamental rights and freedoms. The Cabinet also attempted to deal with the pandemic under The Public Health Act 2000. As a lower administrative court held such approach to be inadmissible, in 2021, The Pandemic Act was adopted. It requires i. a. to provide the reasoning for anti-pandemic measures, including the assessment of their proportionality. Since then, judicial scrutiny has led to striking down many of these measures. Prima facie, Czech experience might appear as a case in support of the individualistic theory of fundamental rights and freedoms and of strong judicial control. At closer look, however, there are good reasons to enquire whether common good constitutionalism shall not provide a feasible alternative to traditional concepts.