This talk will explore the unique challenges and opportunities entailed by designing a large comparative project on a subject under contemporaneous global study by all disciplines. It explores the design and revision of the Author Guidance Code, the approach to rapporteurs and project partners, the editorial and publication strategy, the sequencing the funding applications, the rigorous editorial process, relationship between the scholarly publications and contemporaneous web-presence. Notably, it will speak to how it was necessary to adapt the project in real-time as other high-quality resources emerged across the project period.
The appropriate selection of countries is crucial and always a challenge in comparative projects. The LAC19 used a set of criteria to try to achieve as varied and comprehensive a sample as possible within the available resources. This presentation will describe and discuss the process and the challenges involved in selecting and recruiting the 60 countries that participate in the project.
The contribution would address two intertwined challenges: that of assessing the factual situation 'on the ground' in systems characterised by the denial of freedom of information, freedom of research and freedom of speech; and the challenges of comparative constitutional analysis a with systems typically characterised by the denial of political and legal accountability, sometimes exacerbated by explicit rejection of the principle of separation of powers.
The gender dimension in legal responses to Covid-19 requires self-standing comparative studies. It is a cross-cutting issue involving multiple areas of law. A project such as Lex-Atlas:Covid-19 offers unique opportunities to draw comparisons from very diverse legal systems. Thus, the current contribution aims at grasping some of the project's findings from country studies on topics such as: how gender plays a role in matters such as democratic decision-making during emergencies (including the militarisation of the response); the failure to include a gender analysis in emergency budgetary issues; or the framing and implementation of public health measures, such as defining ‘non-essential’ medical procedures.
Framing a multinational comparative project on legal responses to a pandemic entails posing a set of core research questions. Actual comparability of results will, in turn, depend on ensuring a common language is used when responding to those questions. Otherwise, different reports risk being ‘lost in translation’. The presentation discusses both linguistic and disciplinary hurdles when framing comparative law questions on public health issues. Linguistically, comparisons must deal with the proper portrayal (in the current case, in English) of primary legal sources issued in each country’s official language. At the interdisciplinary level, legal analyses should accurately grasp the scope and rationale of measures adopted for facing public health emergencies. The presentation aims to foster further debates on how to tackle these methodological challenges.