Parliament, the pandemic, and constitutional principle in the United Kingdom: a study of the Coronavirus Act 2020

Pablo Grez Hidalgo, Fiona de Londras, Daniella Lock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Constitutions come under pressure during emergencies and, as is increasingly clear, during pandemics. Taking the legislative and post-legislative debates in Westminster and the Devolved Legislatures on the Coronavirus Act 2020 (CVA) as its focus, this paper explores the robustness of parliamentary accountability during the pandemic, and finds it lacking. It suggests that this is attributable not only to the situation of emergency per se, but to (a) executive decisions that have limited Parliament's capacity to scrutinise; (b) MPs' failure to maximise the opportunities for scrutiny that did exist; and (c) the limited nature of LCMs as a mode of holding the central government to account. While at first glance the CVA appears to confirm the view that in emergencies law empowers the executive and reduces its accountability, rendering legal constraints near-futile, our analysis suggests that this ought to be understood as a product, to a significant extent, of constitutional actors' mindset vis-a-vis accountability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalModern Law Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Not yet published as of 07/06/2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations

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