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 Independent Commission on             UK Public Health Emergency Powers

About the Commission

The Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers is chaired by The Rt. Hon. Sir Jack Beatson FBA. The Commission reviewed the UK's public health legislative framework and institutional arrangements, alongside Government decision-making during the Covid-19 pandemic. It considered how far current legal frameworks and parliamentary procedures protect the Rule of Law and human rights, and how far they promote accountability, transparency and parliamentary control of executive action. The Commission explored these issues in the context of securing timely and effective public health outcomes. It makes 44 recommendations for changes in law, policy, practice and procedure in a report that was published on 15th May 2024.

The aim is that the Independent Commission's findings and recommendations will help to inform planning for future public health emergencies. More immediately, the Independent Commission's final report was published in order to assist the UK and Scottish Covid-19 Public Inquiries. The Independent Commission has provided a legal and constitutional analysis of existing and alternative emergency public health laws, parliamentary procedures for responding to public health emergencies, and the ways in which emergency laws and public health guidance were made, scrutinised, utilised and disseminated during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this way, the Independent Commission met a need identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution for "a review of the use of emergency powers by the Government, and the scrutiny of those powers by Parliament, [to] take place in advance of the public inquiry" and "be completed in time to inform the public inquiry and planning for any future emergencies".

12 Commissioners worked alongside The Rt. Hon. Sir Jack Beatson FBA as Chair. The Commission brings together leading policy experts, practitioners, parliamentarians and academics working in the field. The Commissioners worked in smaller groups to focus on key issues, including the legislative framework, parliamentary oversight of executive action, and international comparisons.

The Bingham Centre provided the Secretariat to the Independent Commission in line with the Commission's agreed Terms of Reference

 The Bingham Centre's team consists of Katie Lines, Research Leader at the Centre and Lucy Moxham, Senior Research Fellow.


Lucy Moxham

Senior Research Fellow in the Rule of Law and Director of the Government and Rule of Law programme

Katie Lines

Research Leader


The vital work of the Independent Commission was generously supported by the JRSST Charitable Trust, alongside other funders.

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