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COVID, Crisis and the Constitution.

Lunchtime Webinar, Wednesday 16 June, 13:00 (Ireland).

Covid, Crisis and the Constitution - Webinar June 16th 2021 1-2pm


  • Professor Fiona de Londras
  • Professor Oran Doyle
  • Dr Joelle Grogan
  • Professor Jeff King

in conversation with Professor Aileen Kavanagh.

This seminar is co-hosted by the British-Irish Chapter of ICON-S (the International Society of Public Law) and TriCON (Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance) and is generously supported by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Constitutional Governance in Europe at Trinity College Dublin.

Covid19 has had a profound effect on our lives, our health and our relationships. But what impact has it had on the constitutional framework and the norms which underpin that framework? Drawing on comparative examples from the UK, Ireland, Europe and far beyond, in conversation with leading experts in the field, this seminar asks: How are governments responding to Covid19 in a changing field? And how are constitutions framing and shaping those responses? More fundamentally, has the Covid crisis uncovered a deeper constitutional malaise?

Fiona de Londras is Professor of Global Legal Studies and Director of the COVID-19 Review Observatory (CVRO) at the University of Birmingham. The CVRO identifies, tracks, and assesses the quality of rights-based review of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the four parliaments operating in the United Kingdom. It considers whether and if so how ‘COVID-19 review’ by parliaments demonstrates the qualities of being independent, framed by rights, evidence-based, participatory, and influential. The CVRO is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of the UKRI. More informaiton on the Observatory can be found here.

Oran Doyle is Professor in law and Director of the COVID-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory at Trinity College Dublin. The Observatory analyses the Irish State’s legal response to COVID-19 – both measures to control the spread of the virus and measures to ameliorate the personal and financial hardships of lockdown – in order to inform public opinion and provoke public debate. As well as maintaining the only consolidation of the regulations adopted to respond to the pandemic, the Observatory has published over 80 blogposts and three policy reports on different aspects of Ireland’s response to COVID-19.

Joelle Grogan is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University London; Research Fellow at the CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest; and co-Director of The Good Lobby Profs. She was the convenor of the 2020 COVID-19 and States of Emergency and the 2021 Power and the COVID-19 Pandemic Symposia hosted by the Verfassungsblog, which analysed action taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 65+ countries from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. She led Democracy Reporting International's 'Rule of law Stress Test', which surveyed EU countries' responses to the pandemic ([http://'Extraordinary or extralegal responses? COVID-19 and the rule of law in Europe']report and recommendations available here) and is the editor of the Routledge Handbook on Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic (forthcoming 2022). Her work on the impact of COVID-19 has been cited by the House of Lords and the EU Parliament, and cited by the media including CNN, The Times, EU Obsever, and The Financial Times.

Jeff King is a Professor of Law at UCL Laws and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee. He is the Co-Principal Investigator of the Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 project and General Editor of the Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19. The LAC19 project will eventually publish in-depth studies on the legal responses of 60 states to Covid-19. The Lex-Atlas UK Report by Jeff King is available here, and the Ireland Report by Eoin Carolan and Ailbhe O'Neill is available here.

Aileen Kavanagh is Professor of Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin and the Director of TriCON (the Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance).

This seminar is part of part of Constitutional Governance in Europe series, supported by the ERASMUS programme.