With another significant backbench rebellion brewing over the necessity and proportionality of the restrictions announced by the Government this week when the current national lockdown ends, the Rule of Law remains front and centre in the political debate about the Government's handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs is concerned by a number of features of the legislative process for Coronavirus regulations: the lack of impact assessment or cost-benefit analysis, the lack of reasoned explanatory material, and the disproportionality of rules which subject 98% of the UK population to stringent restrictions notwithstanding significant local variations in infection rates.
Recognising these sorts of considerations as the minimum requirements of democratic law-making is the subject of discussion by a Group of Experts convened by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
The Group, which includes our Director, Murray Hunt, and Ronan Cormacain, who leads our project on the Rule of Law Monitoring of Legislation, held a working session this week on the role of National Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organisations in the legislative process, as part of its deliberations which are aimed at producing Draft Guidance on Democratic Law-Making.
Such guidance will be a useful source of standards to inform the sort of debate that will be taking place in Parliament next week on the new Coronavirus Regulations.
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