Launch of ELI Webinar Series on the Legal Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis


The first ELI webinar on the ‘ELI Principles for the COVID-19 Crisis’, drafted collectively by the ELI Executive Committee, took place on 23 April 2020. The Principles, currently being voted upon by the ELI Council, address some of the most important legal issues arising in relation to the COVID-19 crisis and offer guidance on (post-)crisis responses to States and other bodies.

In her opening speech, ELI President Christiane Wendehorst underlined that the outbreak, which has hit everyone unexpectedly and brought immense suffering and death to a great many people, has impacted fundamentally the way States, institutions, and different organisations work. As the pandemic has brought unprecedented restrictions on our fundamental rights, it is of the essence that these happen subject to democratic control and the rule of law. It is therefore crucial to get the European legal community and ELI involved in this crisis and in the way it is managed. The ELI Executive Committee therefore formulated, in consultation with ELI’s Senate and Council and with input from its Membership, a summary of some of the important legal issues that arise in relation to the COVID-19 crisis, which are set out in 15 principles. President Wendehorst invited ELI Members to contribute further to the current draft of the Principles and the overall debate with critical questions and suggestions.

ELI Executive Committee members, Lord John Thomas, Fryderyk Zoll, Christiane Wendehorst herself, Anne Birgitte Gammeljord, Pascal Pichonnaz, Pietro Sirena  and Denis Philippe, went on to present individual Principles, which dealt with issues such as fundamental values, principles and freedoms, democracy, law making, privacy and data protection, employment and the economy, and force majeure and hardship. Presentations were followed by a lively Q&A Session and the event was brought to a close by President Wendehorst. Well over 100 participants joined the event.

The entire webinar video is available below.

A series of fortnightly webinars mainly on specific legal issues connected to the COVID-19 crisis will follow over the next few months. More information is available here.