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Covid-19 research and engagement

Stay up-to-date on the Covid-19 related work taking place at Edinburgh Law School.

Coronavirus / Covid-19 cases in the world. (9.04.2020) Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at JHU

Edinburgh Law School in the news

Dr Asanga WelikalaCoronavirus keeps Sri Lanka without a functioning parliament (DW, 29 May 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala: When the Pandemic is a Portal to Militarization (Groundviews, 30 May 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala: Sri Lanka stares at constitutional crisis as polls delayed (Al Jazeera, 22 May 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: The SNF DIALOGUES Discussed the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Global Economy and what Comes Next (The National Herald, 15 May 2020)

Prof Christine Bell: The effects of Covid-19 ceasefires and how crises can impact peace, for better or worse (Good Morning Scotland, BBC, 13 May 2019)

Dr Asanga Welikala: Holding elections after June 2 prima facie unconstitutional: expert (EconomyNext, 6 May 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala: Constitutional Crisis looms as poll date goes beyond three months of dissolution (EconomyNext, 23 April 2020)

Prof Susan McVie: Emergency powers advisory group meets for first time (Edinburgh Reporter, 17 April 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: The Bank Backstop: Can Europe’s Lenders Weather the Coronavirus Crisis? (Wall Street Journal, 14 April 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: Could the world be heading for another financial crisis? (Counting the Cost programme, Al Jazeera, 12 April 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala: As Pandemic Rages, Sri Lanka’s President Pardons a War Criminal (New York Times, 28 March 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala: COVID-19: Southasian states of emergency (Himal Southasian, 26 March 2020)

Prof Christine Bell: UN Chief's Call for Global Ceasefire Gathering Support (UN Insider, 25 March 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: Fears Intensify Over European Banks’ Ability to Weather Coronavirus Crisis (Wall Street Journal, 16 March 2020)


Expert insights and commentaries

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra and Ms Rebecca Richards, et al: Imagining Life with "Immunity Passports": Managing Risk During a Pandemic (Discover Society, 1 June 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: COVID-19 exposes the limits of debt-driven capitalism, writes Emilios Avgouleas (Covid-19 Perspectives, 26 May 2020)

Prof Jo Shaw: The pandemic and the people: a short essay (Medium, 20 May 2020)

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra and Ms Rebecca Richards, et al: What does it mean to be made vulnerable in the era of COVID-19? (The Lancet, 27 April 2020)

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra: Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Worse for Women? (Thinking Out Loud video series, University of Oxford, 17 April 2020)

Dr Catriona McMillan and Dr Victoria Sobolewska: DNACPRs and advance care planning in the COVID19 pandemic: key lessons (The Motley Coat, 16 April 2020)

Prof Emilios Avgouleas: COVID-19 Lays Bare the Limits of Debt Capitalism (Centre for International Governance Innovation, 16 April 2020)

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra and Dr Alexis Paton: Anyone can get coronavirus – but how you fare depends a lot on who and where you are (The Independent, 8 April 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala and Mr Suren Fernando: Balancing efficiency with law and liberty: Dealing with the pandemic without democratic backsliding (Daily FT, 8 April 2020)

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra: Social justice may be our greatest antidote (University of Edinburgh, 6 April 2020)

Mr Eamon Keane: Alarm bells ring over hearsay proposals (Scottish Legal News, 1 April 2020)

Dr Asanga Welikala and Mr Suren Fernando: Public finance in times of crisis: The constitutional functions of President and Parliament (Daily FT, 31 March 2020)

Prof Stephen Tierney and Prof Jeff King: The Coronavirus Bill (UK Constitutional Law Blog, 24 March 2020)

Prof Christine Bell: COVID-19 and Violent Conflict: Responding to Predictable Unpredictability (Just Security, 24 March 2020)

Prof Graeme Laurie: The COVID-19 pandemic: are law and human rights also prey to the virus? (Covid-19 Perspectives, 17 March 2020)


Journal articles

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra, et al: Segmenting communities as public health strategy: a view from the social sciences and humanities (May 2020, Wellcome Open Research)


Briefing notes

Dr Richard Jones, et al: The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for cybercrime policing in Scotland: A rapid review of the evidence and future considerations (May 2020, Research Evidence in Policing: Pandemics briefing series, Scottish Institute for Policing Research)



Prof Graeme Laurie has been appointed to the Arts and Humanities Reseach Council (AHRC) Covid-19 expert peer review group.

Read more about the AHRC

Prof Susan McVie has been appointed to the new Independent Advisory Group to look at Police Scotland’s use of new emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus. It is chaired by leading human rights lawyer John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate.

Read more about the Indepedent Advisory Group

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra has been invited to be a member of the Ethics Group of the German Pubilc Health Covid-19 Network.

Read the network's first public health ethics policy brief

Read more about the network


Research projects

Justice in Global Health Emergencies and Humanitarian Crises

Global Health Emergencies (GHEs) are crises that affect health, and that are, or should be, of international concern. These might include infectious outbreaks, humanitarian crises and disasters, conflicts, and forced displacements. GHEs are characterised by various forms of urgency and uncertainty, and are known to exacerbate existing inequalities, injustices and vulnerabilities in individuals and communities.

Dr Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra is the PI of a Wellcome Trust Seed Award Project entitled, ‘Vulnerability and justice in global health emergency regulation: developing future ethical models,’ which is currently working on several pieces on the subject of COVID-19.

Visit the project website

Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Covid-19 and Providing Professional and Public Guidance

Over the next few months, Dr Edward Dove will be working in collaboration with Prof John Coggon of the University of Bristol Law School, who has secured funding from the University of Bristol’s Elizabeth Blackwell Institute to track, analyse, and advise on developments in health policy and practice in light of Covid-19. The project is entitled “Covid-19: Explaining the Legal and Ethical Dimensions and Providing Professional and Public Guidance”.

Working with colleague across UK’s four nations (Prof John Coggon at Bristol, Prof John Harrington at Cardiff, and Profs Thérèse Murphy and Anne-Maree Farrell at QUB in Belfast), and alongside an international advisory group, they will track and systematise the early run of legislative and policy responses to Covid-19 in health policy and practice contexts; develop explanatory materials and analysis of existing and emerging (including latent) points of law, regulation, and policy (including professional ethical guidance); critically assess the consistency of policy and practice with the UK’s ethical framework for pandemic planning; fundamentally assess the consistency of these materials with basic commitments to the rule of law and human rights; and contribute to processes of reflexive governance for and of health professionals (i.e. through advice on developing policy and practice).

Visit the project website

Proposed Protections for Digital Interventions in Relation to Immunity Certificates

Prof Burkhard Schafer is part of a group of academics, who under the editorship of Prof Lilian Edwards (Newcastle University) developed a model "Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill 2020: Proposed protections for digital interventions and in relation to immunity certificates." The proposal was presented to the the Science and Technology Committee, and also referenced approvingly by the UK’s Biometrics Commissioner. The model Bill has by now been translated into Spanish and French, while Prof Schafer is translating and adopting it for a German version.

Read the proposed bill

Read the Biometrics Commissioner's statement on the use of symptom tracking applications

PSRP COVID-19 and Conflict Research

The Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP) is working on a number of initiatives relating to the impact of Covid-19, and associated response policies, on peace processes and armed conflict. Much of this work is in early stages and more information will be published in due course.

Read more about the PSRP's Covid-19 research projects

UK Employment Law and Job Retention

Prof David Cabrelli is undertaking a project on the impact of the UK's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on UK Employment law. The research will complement existing scholarship which has assessed the effect of the small print of the Direction and also the effect of the CJRS on the statutory employment protection rights of ‘employees’ with a contract of employment. Additionally, it will look further at the effect of the CJRS on ‘workers’, ‘agency workers’, ‘zero-hours contract workers’ and ‘gig economy workers’ who do not necessarily have a contract of employment with their employers and as such, are not ‘employees’, as well as the common law rights of employees and other workers.

Read more about the Direction issued by the Government to HMRC



Conflict, Development and Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations around the world. The consequences of the virus on conflict-affected states are so powerful that United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for a global ceasefire to stop violent conflict in support of the fight against novel coronavirus.

The Political Settlements Research Programme is committed to supporting communities experiencing violent conflict, and have put together a list of blogs and other resources addressing the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of conflict-affected states.

View the PSRP Conflict, Development and Covid-19 Resources page

Policing the Lockdown Blog Series

Across the globe, authorities have instituted a wide range of measures in the name of controlling the spread of Covid-19. Many of those measures require fundamental shifts to our social, economic and political life. These shifts are being policed formally and informally by a wide range of actors, including the police, military, and civic groups. The ‘Policing the Lockdown’ blog series from the Scottish Institute for Policing Research shines a light on these policing practices and their impact.

Read the Policing the Lockdown blog