Northern Ireland faces a real and pressing public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the UK and Irish governments have introduced emergency legislation in response to this crisis.
Emergency legislation in times of crisis can be necessary and actively support positive action to protect human rights. The general principle is that emergency measures should be necessary, proportionate, and time bound for the duration of the emergency. There should also be safeguards against abuses of power.
In this briefing note, we look at the emergency legislation introduced (or planned to be introduced) in Northern Ireland in relation to COVID-19. We assess the emergency measures with a recognition that we are in extraordinary times, where specific targeted actions are required, but where we still need to be vigilant against excessive powers that may make the situation worse and not better.
The briefing note is available here.