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Legal justification Covid measures lacking

Ever since the coronavirus crisis began, people have been arguing about the legal justification for measures. The problem: far-reaching measures such as an obligation to wear face masks, get tested, or school closures violate the Constitution. The Cabinet had the difficult task of weighing fundamental rights against the danger of the virus without a legal framework. Now, two and a half years after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there is still no legal foundation. The tools the Cabinet does have are legally ‘shaky’ and undemocratic.

For the Cabinet, it is problematic that emergency regulations are legally sensitive. In May 2020, the Dutch Council of State wrote that emergency regulations ‘strictly speaking’ do not meet the constitutional requirements for taking measures that limit fundamental rights.

Wim Voermans, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University: ‘What the Council of State really said was – once, but never again. It is certainly not inconceivable that judges confronted with fines will say: that’s not legal.’

Voermans: ‘If necessary, the issue can be dealt with within a week. Under great pressure, everything becomes fluid.’ The House of Representatives lacks urgency. Indeed, it may be in the interest of certain political parties to postpone the debate on the bill. Parties like PVV and FVD do not want new measures. Every month without a ‘new corona law’ is a gain. And the parties that do want a corona law benefit by waiting until the need for measures is urgent. Then critics are more likely to swallow their criticism.

Read the full article (in Dutch) in NRC article

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