Judicial Review of COVID-19 Legislation – How have the Courts Performed?

30 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2022 Last revised: 8 May 2023

See all articles by John Mark Keyes

John Mark Keyes

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 22, 2022


This paper considers judicial responses to challenges to legislative action taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, how these responses were affected by emergency conditions and the implications for judicial review generally and its role in society.

The paper begins by outlining the types of legislative measures taken and then considers in very general terms the rule of law and judicial review, including hurdles to judicial review arising in many of the challenges to COVID-19 legislation, which in turn go some distance towards explaining the failure of most challenges.

The paper looks next at the principal grounds advanced for challenging COVID-19 legislation in terms of the matters it addressed and the bases for the challenges. The bases for challenge are grouped under three headings:

1. constitutional law limits on law-making authority,
2. administrative law limits on delegated authority,
3. fundamental human rights and rights of Indigenous peoples.

This survey is by no means exhaustive. Its aim is to add to the growing body of commentary on emergency legislation by focusing on a limited number of cases, mainly from Canada with a few from the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Keywords: legislation, judicial review, COVID-19

JEL Classification: K2

Suggested Citation

Keyes, John Mark, Judicial Review of COVID-19 Legislation – How have the Courts Performed? (July 22, 2022). Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2022-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4170180 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4170180

John Mark Keyes (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics