The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is pleased to announce the programme for the 2020-21 Director’s Series of Seminars on the topic of ‘Law and Humanities in a Pandemic’. This series of monthly remote workshops organised on the Zoom platform by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies during the 2020-21 academic year seeks to ‘make sense’ of the wide ranging relationship between law and the pandemic through the insights of the humanities, broadly understood as the set of cultural influences which are shaping the use of law and the responses to it. Authors will present their work in progress for twenty minutes, followed by questions from the audience and discussion. The intention is to publish the papers following the completion of the series.
The COVID-19 pandemic already has had a vast array of legal implications which have dramatically altered daily life. While liberal, universal rights such as liberty and privacy are being radically curtailed in the name of public health, legal responses impact upon populations in radically unequal ways. These dimensions include - but certainly are not limited to - race, gender, disability, vulnerability and social class. Legal interventions are consistently justified on the basis of science, which is assumed to be unequivocal and beyond debate. At the same time, resistance to legal action is also apparent, as rumours and conspiracy theories - like the virus itself - multiply around the globe. At the same time as public policy measures are introduced, systems of legal regulation and compliance (which were often themselves justified on the basis of public protection) are modified or suspended in the name of necessity, with no indication as to when or how they will be restored. Moreover, the relationship between law and discretion has been reshaped, and this in turn has impacted upon individuals and communities.
Attendance at the workshops is free, but advance registration is required. Registration information will be available on the ‘Events’ section of the IALS website.