This week has seen a fierce and at times convoluted debate around whether the UK Prime Minister's special adviser Dominic Cummings complied with the law and guidance on social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The debate has many strands, from the specific issue of whether Mr Cummings breached the regulations that were in force at the time, to wider issues about the role and accountability of special advisers, the position of the Attorney-General in relation to possible criminal investigations, and the broader implications of this affair for public compliance with the lockdown and the recently announced track-and-trace systems.
Director, Murray Hunt, discusses some of these broader questions about connections between the rule of law, public trust and compliance in a piece just published by Prospect Magazine, Dominic Cummings and the rule of law . Murray observes that the public's passion for the Rule of Law is confirmed by many people's strongly expressed views that the law should apply equally to all, and that no-one is above it. Other elements of the Rule of Law may be equally critical to the effective handling of the Coronavirus crisis, he argues. These include whether the Coronavirus regulations and guidance have provided people with sufficient legal certainty about during the crisis, and whether the newly introduced tracing system (including the app for mobile phones) will be subject to an appropriate legal framework - as yet, Parliament has not enacted any legal framework for it.
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