l'Association Internationale de Droit Constitutionnel || The International Association of Constitutional Law

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Rationale of the Group

State responses to COVID-19 engage the full breadth of public law. Comparative constitutional scholarship is critical in enabling countries to learn from the experiences of others as we face a common challenge. Moreover, the fact that all countries in the world are responding at the same time to the same challenge—albeit with different dimensions—enables a reconsideration of many of the central debates in comparative constitutional law, from democratic backsliding and federalism to the role of AI and the regulation of Big Tech.

In order to provide a forum for scholarly research into public law responses to COVID-19, this Research Group aims to create a worldwide network of scholars who share interests in particular aspects of public law and their relationship to the protection of public health. The Group aims at facilitating conversations between scholars with a view to making contributions to new and emerging debates in public law. The Group may also seek to provide feasible guidelines to policymakers and practitioners who are called to manage public health crises.

The Group focuses on two research streams, although the Group is responsive to the academic interests of its members and the research focus may evolve over time.

Stream 1

The COVID-19 crisis has required states swiftly to introduce far-reaching legal measures to control the pandemic. Four aspects of public law decision-making have been foregrounded in this process: (a) the role of experts in the formulation of legal measures; (b) the reliance placed on official guidance and social norms as opposed to legally enforceable restrictions; (c) the balance between executives and parliaments in both the enactment and oversight of legal measures (including the risk of subversion of any hierarchy of legal sources stemming from the prevalence of executives); and (d) the management of territorial stress and the impact of sub-national constitutionalism in formulating responses to the pandemic. A particular interest of the Group is how these aspects intersect with some of the broader dynamics within contemporary public law, such as populism, democratic backsliding and renewal, and globalism/localism. Every country in the world has been presented with almost the same problem at almost the same time. Comparative study into the effectiveness of differentiated responses is imperative.

Stream 2

The COVID-19 pandemic also shed light on the role of technology during public health emergencies. Many governments are resorting to tracking apps to try to prevent the spread of the contagion, and, at the same time, allow people to gradually revert to “normal life”. Moreover, in some jurisdictions, drones and other unmanned monitoring devices are being deployed to check compliance with anti-Covid measures. These are only some examples of new forms of “surveillance” that, as such, may raise concerns as regards the balance between privacy and data protection, on the one hand, and the need to safeguard health, on the other hand. The use of automated or semi-automated tools is a further complicating factor that deserves consideration. These aspects will be the object of the “second stream” of the IACL/AIDC Research Group on Public Law Responses to Public Health Emergencies.


  • Juliano Zaiden Benvindo
  • Universidade de Brasília
  • Oran Doyle
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Chiara Graziani
  • University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy

Juliano Zaiden Benvindo is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Brasilia and  CNPq Research Fellow.He was a DAAD/CAPES PhD Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin, DAAD/CAPES Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow at the Centre of European Law and Politics of the University of Bremen and Alexander von Humboldt/CAPES Senior Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He is currently the Head of the Center for Comparative Constitutional Studies of the University of Brasília.  He is the author of the book On The Limits of Constitutional Adjudication: Deconstructing Balancing and Judicial Activism (Springer, 2010), co-editor of the book Constitutional Change and Transformation in Latin America (Hart, 2019, with Richard Albert and Carlos Bernal), and is currently writing the book Rule of Law in Brazil (Hart, 2021 forthcoming). Since 2015, he has been a regular contributor to I-CONnect. In relation to COVID-19, he is particularly interested in how middle-income and poor countries have been challenged in their constitutional, political and economic framework as well as the connections between COVID-19 and inequality.  

Oran Doyle is Professor in law at Trinity College Dublin. He has held visiting positions at the Academia Sinica Taipei, Bocconi University Milan, Keio University Tokyo, and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He is an expert in comparative constitutional law, his recent work being published in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Global Constitutionalism, the German Law Journal, and the European Constitutional Law Review. He is the author of 'The Irish Constitution: A Contextual Account' (Hart 2018). Prof Doyle’s research focuses on how constitutions change and how they relate to territory. In relation to COVID-19, he is interested in how existing constitutional structures and values succumb or respond to the pressures of managing the pandemic. He is the director of the COVID-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory.

Chiara Graziani is a Research Fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca and an Academic Fellow at Bocconi University, Italy.
Her research addresses emergency powers in political and non-political crisis, the balance between national security and human rights, the use of artificial intelligence and technology.
She spent research stays at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, the University of Valencia, the Library of the European Court of Human Rights, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, the Trinity College Dublin.
In relation to COVID-19, she is interested in how emergency powers have been resorted to in the struggle against the pandemic, in the impact of anti-Covid measures on the hierarchy of legal sources, as well as in legal issues arising from technology surveillance tools (included artificial intelligence-based systems) set up to deal with the spread of the disease.
She is a contributor to Comparative Covid Law.

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  1. Adugna Gebeye, Berihun – University of Gottingen
  2. Arduin, Sarah – Trinity College Dublin
  3. Bar Siman tov, Ittai – Bar Ilan University
  4. Bell, Mark – Trinity College Dublin
  5. Bień-Kacała, Agnieszka – Nicolaus Copernicus University
  6. Casey, Conor – EUI Florence
  7. Colon Rios, Joel – Victoria University of Wellington
  8. Cornell, Anna – Uppsala University
  9. Cotino Hueso, Lorenzo – Universidad de Valencia
  10. Drinóczi, Tímea – University of Pécs
  11. Fennelly, David – Trinity College Dublin
  12. Grogan , Joelle – University of Middlesex
  13. Guild, Elspeth – Queen Mary University
  14. Huang, Cheng-Yi – Academia Sinica
  15. Kenny, David – Trinity College Dublin
  16. Kılıç, Arınç – Lund University
  17. Kuo, Ming-Sung – University of Warwick
  18. Lyons, Donna – Trinity College Dublin
  19. Mulligan, Andrea – Trinity College Dublin
  20. Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala – University of Minnesota Law School
  21. Pfersmann, Otto – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
  22. Pin, Andrea – University of Padua
  23. Roy, Suryapratim – Trinity College Dublin
  24. Saunders, Cheryl – University of Melbourne
  25. Scheinin, Martin – EUI Florence
  26. Sullivan, Gavin – University of Kent
  27. Tourkochoriti, Ioanna – NUI Galway
  28. Vedaschi, Arianna – Bocconi University
  29. Velasco Ibarra, Eugenio – Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
  30. Villarreal, Pedro A. – Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
  31. Walker, Clive – University of Leeds
  32. Walsh, Rachael – Trinity College Dublin
  33. Yusingco, Michael – Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines