The University of Trento has promoted a project to create an international database.
Pandemic and rights. A hot topic that projects onto the world stage some very sensitive questions for each of us. Just to be concrete: when and on what basis can a State be held responsible for measures taken in a pandemic? Is the declaration of a state of emergency always a necessary step in taking measures restricting personal freedoms? Who judges the discretion with which governments make decisions in a crisis situation, and how do they balance fundamental individual and community rights? Questions that the community as a whole -politicians, scientists, public opinion - have been grappling with for the past year and a half.
In an attempt to provide internationally shared answers, the Covid-19 Litigation Project was born, the first international database where information on litigation related to public health interventions taken in different countries around the world to counter the pandemic is systematically collected and analyzed. An organized catalog, available online in open access mode, in which to consult litigation related to the adoption of public health measures at the regional, national or sub-national level. The database is the result of international collaboration of a group of judges and scholars, coordinated by Trento University with its Faculty of Law and with financial support from the World Health Organization. Universities and research centers from Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia are participating in the project.
"The health crisis has presented governments with unprecedented challenges in protecting life and security, and has confronted them with the need to make choices, often tragic ones, balancing different rights and fundamental freedoms," explains Paola Iamiceli, UniTrento professor and coordinator of the international project.
"We designed and created the database to support especially institutional representatives and politicians, lawyers who play their role in public and proven contexts, judges and those who generally deal with law. It allows them to learn from experiences that have emerged in different jurisdictions and can stimulate cross-jurisdictional dialogue to coordinate responses to health crises."
The official presentation of the "Covid-19 Litigation Project" database will take place today at 11:30 a.m. at the 10th international conference on "Health Promotion for well-being, equity and sustainable development.
How the database works. To protect those who are most vulnerable and ensure balance between rights and social solidarity, courts today are called upon to consider complex scientific issues, albeit in a short time frame and with limited scientific evidence. Case selection focuses on litigation concerning challenges to acts of states (and their sub-state articulations), including situations where administrations have failed to take public health action. The database includes essential references on the selected cases, as well as an English-language summary of the principles of law applied by the courts. Cases are identified through a purpose-built international network of judges and scholars, supported by public databases and cross-cutting and extensive media research. A crowdsourcing tool has also been activated, enabling broad community involvement.