The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the marked centralization and exertion of executive power, and, more broadly, a focus on the response of other elected organs. However, the pandemic has also shone a light on the key roles played by unelected independent institutions and international bodies, from public health actors to courts to international organizations and beyond. Constitutional INSIGHTS No. 8 explores the types of independent institutions that have shaped state action to suppress the virus, focusing on four principal functions: sources of expertise; implementation mechanisms; constraints on government action; and linkage actors mediating between the domestic, transnational and international spheres.
1. What kind of unelected institutions have been active in pandemic responses?
2. What do we expect from independent and international institutions?
3. What does independence mean, and how does it relate to effectiveness?
4. What role did experts play in the pandemic, and within what organizational/structural framework?
5. What role did courts play in responding to the emergency? Were courts inhibited/precluded from review by the facts of the emergency?
6. What role did international institutions play in responding to the emergency?
7. What insights for the future can be drawn from these experiences?