Dr Subhajit Basu and PhD student Natasha Gooden write opinion piece on the role of international law in relation to international inquiry on COVID-19

Following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent worldwide investigation into the pandemic, international law and its responses have been put into the spotlight.

In their article Dr Subhajit Basu and School of Law PhD student Natasha Gooden explain: “Initial thoughts may have focused solely on the international regulation of health, but as the pandemic has unfolded, there have been more significant ramifications.

“At a time when the whole world is searching for answers, the first assumption is that international law has a clear framework and legal response to such a situation.

“While there are regulations in place, the intricate nature of international law is exposed to regulation weakness, limited cooperation, and a lack of enforcement that is reinforced through the dominance of state-based approaches. Inherent challenges of fragmentation have been highlighted for all to see”. 

Dr Basu and Ms Gooden agree with the notion that the purpose of international law is to maintain international regulations and hold states and international organisations accountable. However, they go on to argue that the attribution of blame and demanding reparations or compensation is not an appropriate way to move forward.

The co-authors then discuss the most appropriate way for an international enquiry to occur and the limiting factors and hurdles which are likely to be encountered.

The article concludes: “It is clear that international law, while it is fragmented, there are regimes and frameworks in place that have the potential to attempt to answer some of the questions and create the ability to respond and deal with a future pandemic in a more robust and coordinated manner.”

Read the full article.