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Constitutional implications of COVID-19

Inquiry

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Government’s measures to respond to it have significant constitutional implications, as well as health, social and economic ones. These include:

  • The ability of Parliament to hold the Government to account 
  • Scrutiny of emergency powers
  • The operation of the courts 

The Constitution Committee is considering these issues and exploring questions such as:

  • What can Parliament do to maximise its scrutiny of the emergency regulations and to hold the Government to account effectively during lockdown? How are adjustments to procedures and processes working in the House of Lords?
  • What emergency powers has the Government sought during the pandemic and what powers has it used and how? What lessons are there for future uses of emergency powers, their safeguards and the processes for scrutinising them?
  • How is the court system operating during the pandemic? What has been the impact of virtual proceedings on access to justice, participation in proceedings, transparency and media reporting?

The Committee has so far published calls for written evidence for the courts and the Parliament strands of the inquiry and is taking oral evidence from experts, stakeholders, ministers and others.