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Committee calls for evidence on the use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic

29 September 2020

The Constitution Committee would like your views on the use of emergency powers in response to the pandemic, what lessons there are for future uses of emergency powers and what safeguards and process there are in place for effective scrutiny.

Inquiry background

The House of Lords Constitution Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the constitutional implications of COVID-19. It is exploring the impact of the pandemic, and the Government’s response to it, in relation to the operation of the courts and Parliament and the use of emergency powers.


  • Does the Coronavirus Act 2020 strike the right balance between powers for the Executive and parliamentary oversight and approval?
  • What new criminal offences have been introduced as part of the Government’s response to the pandemic? Is criminalisation a proportionate, justified and appropriate response?
  • To what extent have the legal requirements imposed on people during lockdown been clear and accessible to members of the public? How should the new measures introduced in response to the pandemic be communicated and explained to authorities (e.g. local government, police, border force, regulators), businesses and members of the public?
  • What have been the consequences of legal divergence between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom in responding to the pandemic?
  • To what extent has Parliament been able effectively to scrutinise the statutory instruments related to the pandemic measures? What additional steps ought to be taken to ensure effective scrutiny of emergency statutory instruments in future?


The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on Wednesday 18 November 2020.

Further information