Administrative Law in a Time of Crisis: Comparing National Responses to COVID-19

Administrative Law Review, Vol. 73, p.1, 2021

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 21-17

19 Pages Posted: 15 May 2021

See all articles by Cary Coglianese

Cary Coglianese

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Neysun A. Mahboubi

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Beginning in early 2020, countries around the world successively and then together faced the same rapidly emerging threats from the COVID-19 virus. The shared experience of this global pandemic affords scholars and policymakers a comparative lens through which to view how differences in countries’ governance structures and administrative responses affected their ability to manage the various crisis posed by the pandemic. This article introduces a special series of essays in the Administrative Law Review written by leading administrative law experts across the globe. Case studies focus on China, Chile, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States, as well as the World Health Organization. Although the pandemic and its consequences remain ongoing problems, this issue seeks to elucidate the regulatory challenges that countries have faced in common, and to compare approaches and distill lessons that might be transferrable across jurisdictions. From the essays in this special issue emerge at least four key lessons. First, it is clear that a global pandemic demands effective national and local governance. Second, regulations must be adaptable and responsive in the face of fast-moving public health threats. Third, emergency executive powers must be limited and subject to oversight and sunsetting. Finally, as much as administrative law can affect countries’ ability to craft effective responses to public health emergencies, responsible public leadership undoubtedly matters most of all. These four lessons can help guide efforts by lawmakers and policy advisors to prepare more nimble and effective regulatory approaches to respond to viral outbreaks and other public health threats. Even when the current global pandemic eventually recedes, the Administrative Law Review’s special issue on national responses to the COVID-19 crisis can provide a basis for reflection and renewed momentum toward strengthening international public health institutions and regulatory cooperation around the world.

Keywords: Public health administration, novel coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-COV-2 virus, comparative administrative law, infectious disease pandemic, emergency powers, governance, leadership, flexibility, adaptation, global health

Suggested Citation

Coglianese, Cary and Mahboubi, Neysun, Administrative Law in a Time of Crisis: Comparing National Responses to COVID-19 (2021). Administrative Law Review, Vol. 73, p.1, 2021, U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 21-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841755

Cary Coglianese (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-6867 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/coglianese

Neysun Mahboubi

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Center for the Study of Contemporary China
133 South 36th St, Suite 416
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6215
United States
215.573.4874 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cscc.sas.upenn.edu/people/Neysun_Mahboubi

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