Many Issues, One Objective

The Covid-19 Litigation Project traces and make accessible in a dedicated Database the litigation stemming all over the world from challenges related to public health measures adopted within the pandemic.

When and on which legal bases can governments be held responsible for the way they face the COVID-19 pandemic? Is the declaration of state of emergency a necessary condition to exercise certain powers? To what extent can decision-making powers and competences be challenged within an emergency context? Even when the existence of such powers is not challenged, how do judges assess the discretion exercised by governments? Are fundamental rights (to health and other rights and freedoms) criteria within the judicial assessment of governmental decisions? Do judges strike a balance between the (fundamental) right to health and other (fundamental) rights and freedom? How? And again, how do Courts ensure that governmental police power respects human rights? Which remedies are available when abuse of powers or wrong balancing is carried? Do the available remedies change depending on whether the claimant is a public institution or a private party? To what extent can private or public parties rely on emergency regulations when enforcing contracts or disputing liabilities? When can individuals or organizations claim compensation for losses due to the pandemic and not allegedly mitigated by governments?

To answer questions like these, the Covid-19 Litigation Project traces the litigation stemming all over the world from challenges related with public health measures adopted within the pandemic.

The ultimate objective is to allow public and private stakeholders to access an open-access database with the main decisions issued in these contexts. Consultation is open to individuals and institutions, including governments, judges, lawyers, legal practitioners and scholars.

Access the database

The project is aimed at enabling accessibility to the disputes in question for:

  • Governments and institutions

    that need to adopt measures in emergency contexts like the present one.

  • Courts

    that need to address unprecedented conflicts between the right to health and other fundamental rights, fundamental freedoms and other rights.

  • Lawyers and legal experts

    who need to assist persons/institutions affected by the above decisions and measures.

  • Scholars

    who engage in legal and interdisciplinary research in the area of public health and related fields.

The collection of relevant judgments is always in progress and all users of this website interested in submitting materials of interest to the project can do so through the dedicated Report Form on this website.

The Scope of The Project and the Areas Covered

The selection of court decisions published on the Covid-19 Litigation Database focuses on the litigation concerning challenges to the exercise of governmental authority, where a government’s power to implement public health measures has been legally challenged, including but not limited to:

  • cases where annulment of governmental measures by private actors or by other public entities is sought;
  • cases in which injunctive relief is sought;
  • cases in which compensation by private parties is claimed for losses caused by public health measures implemented by governments, or by the omission to adopt and/or implement public health measures.

The selection embraces a wide range of areas of law affected by Covid-related litigation. The areas currently covered are listed below. Further categories may be identified over the course of the project based on developments of the Covid-19 litigation.

  • Consumer protection
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Private and family life
  • Immigration and asylum
  • Health law, detention and prison law
  • Non-discrimination
  • Procedural law (access to justice, fair trial, jury trial, independence of judges etc.)
  • Industrial relations / Labor law
  • Education
  • Freedom to conduct a business
  • Property
  • Freedom of movement of goods and capital
  • Freedom of movement of people
  • Public health and access to healthcare (not Covid-related diseases, including access to reproductive health)
  • Healthcare management (Covid related, excluding vaccination)
  • Vaccination
  • Use of protection devices (e.g., face masks)
  • Health and freedom of association/public gathering/religion
  • Utilities (energy, telecom, water - access to essential business/goods)
  • Sanctions and remedies
  • Scope of powers of public authorities (legislative, executive etc.)
  • Multilevel government and allocation of powers
  • Health, right to information and freedom of expression
  • Political activity / Representation
  • Public contracts

Access the database

The Project Architecture

Large-scale monitoring and collection of relevant case-law is possible thanks to an extensive network of partners and collaborators involved in various capacities in the Covid-19 Litigation Project.

The whole network is led by the Faculty of Law of the University of Trento, Italy, as the Coordinating institution. A Coordination Unit and a Project Management Team are respectively responsible for the various phases of the scientific, administrative and operational management of the project activities.

A team of project partners is established with the aim of ensuring broad and stable coverage of a large number of jurisdictions in all world regions. At present, the Covid-19 Litigation Project can rely on institutional relationships allowing coverage of the ongoing litigation in Europe, South and Central America, North America , Eastern Asia, Africa. More details on the project partners and the jurisdictions under their competence are provide in the section concerning Partnerships and Collaborators. Each partner institutions coordinates a team of Research Assistants knowledgeable about the jurisdictions assigned.

In addition to the above formal collaborations, the Covid-19 Litigation Project can rely on the continuous reporting of disputes arising in all world region by the International Network of Judges and Legal Scholars – INJS. In particular, regular updates are ensured from the following Countries: (Europe) Austria, Cyprus, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, UK; (North America) USA, Canada; (South and Central America) Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia; (Asia) Israel, China, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Macau, Singapore/Southeast Asia, Taiwan.

More information on the INJS is available on the dedicated page.