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Rule of Law and Good Governance Principles for National Responses to Public Health Emergencies

Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci, Dr Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott

This report forms part of the project The Role of Good Governance and the Rule of Law in Building Public Trust in Data-Driven Responses to Public Health Emergencies, a COVID-19 Rapid Response research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (grant AH/V015214/1).

The project that this report forms part of investigates the hypothesis that good governance and the rule of law enable trust. They do this by creating a perimeter of legitimacy around governments' conduct, ensuring they adhere to their obligations under national and international law, that they conduct their practice in transparent, accountable, and non-arbitrary ways, whilst considering issues such as inequality, and are prevented from disproportionately interfering with rights and liberties. 

The aim of this report is to outline and review the applicable principles to national responses to public health emergencies. It accompanies our paper on International Law Applicable to Public HealthEmergencies and Data Governance, which provides a mapping of the institutional governance and of international and regional law that applies to PHEs. It builds on previous work by project partners including BIICL/Bingham Centre's research undertaken for Advocates for International Development in the first half of 2020. Rather than providing a comprehensive definition of the rule of law and good governance and their elements, this paper aims to offer a guide to thinking through the rule of law and good governance core principles that should inform government data-driven responses to public health emergencies. The nuanced application of these and other principles to data driven public health response to PHEs will be elaborated across future outputs of this project.

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