Covid-19 and the law: lessons for global health

In this webinar, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik maps out global trends in 'Covid-19 law', including criminal law, welfare legislation and the human rights framework, with a view to draw out key lessons for global health.

Image may contain: Covid virus

Illustration picture, photo credit: Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo.

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Six months into the global outbreak, the epidemiological impact of Covid-19 as well as repressive public health strategies, government inaction, and structural inequality have engendered massive human rights violations. The challenge of sorting and shaping ‘Covid-19 law’ research agendas in the context of a continuous avalanche of bad news and new data –is daunting.

This talk devises three concepts – ‘law creep’, ‘techno-legal utopianism’ and ‘legal abandonment’ – as socio-legal contributions to a Covid-19 research agenda for global health. 

  • Legal mission and function creeps: To what extent has penal law and criminalization been applied to health care workers, patients and people suspected of being infected with Covid-19?
  • Tracing apps as techno-legal utopianism: Infection tracking apps have mushroomed – and crashed – globally. What are key observations regarding the legality and illegality of this type of technological innovation?
  • Legal abandonment of the most vulnerable: Covid-19 restrictions have massively undermined children’s health rights. What has been the use of law and legal mobilization to protect children’s right to health care, including human rights and constitutional law guarantees?
Kristin B. Sandvik, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo.

About Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, is a professor of legal sociology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo and a Research Professor in Humanitarian Studies at PRIO. She works on the digital transformation of humanitarian action and refugee management with a focus on legalization, accountability, ethics and rights. Most recently, she has published on legal tech as law and development, humanitarian wearables and digital dead body management. She is currently working on the technological and human rights aspects of the Covid-19 response, with a focus on tracking apps, children’s rights and the rule of law.

About this seminar

Global Health Unpacked” is a seminar series that aims to bring together the global health community on a regular basis to critically discuss key debates in Global Health in informal and interactive seminars. Guest speakers (both from the University of Oslo and from other universities) will bring an original perspective to the topic and engage in a conversation with the audience.

With this forum, we also hope to facilitate exchanges and collaborations between global health researchers and students present in Oslo and foster interdisciplinary research. “Global Health Unpacked” is jointly organized by the research group Global Health Politics, Centre for Development and the EnvironmentUiO Centre for Global Health.

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Published Aug. 21, 2020 3:09 PM - Last modified Nov. 16, 2020 9:51 AM