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H&P director writes in the Law Gazette on the Coronavirus Act 2020

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Dr Andrew Blick (King's College London) has co-authored a piece with Professor Clive Walker (Leeds) in the Law Gazette.

Posing the question Why did government not use the Civil Contingencies Act?, the authors point out the relative lack of safeguards in the recent Act compared to the 2004 Act:

Through discarding the CCA, the government has evaded its important safeguards and adopted much weaker precautions in the Coronavirus Act 2020. First, by section 97, the secretary of state must publish every two months a report on the status of the provisions, including a statement of satisfaction that the status of those provisions is ‘appropriate’, though according to which criteria is anybody’s guess. Second, by section 98, the House of Commons will be able to debate and vote on the continuation of the Coronavirus Act 2020 every six months based on a motion ‘That the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should not yet expire’. This review power is extraordinarily confined. The wording stacks the odds in favour of renewal and banishes the House of Lords from any legislative role. The third precaution is that, by section 89, the Act is to expire after two years; but, even then, ‘relevant national authority’ under section 90 (a Minister of the Crown) can extend the life by regulation for six months at a stretch.

Read the full article.

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