97. André Janssen, Christian Johannes Wahnschaffe, COVID-19 and international sale contracts: unprecedented grounds for exemption or business as usual? 2021.02.02, https://academic.oup.com/ulr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ulr/unaa026/6126398?searchresult=1 . The year 2020 has witnessed a health crisis of unparalleled dimensions. Through restrictions on economic activities and disruptions in supply chains, COVID-19 has severely impeded global trade. Among the ensuing problems, the question of excusing a party’s failure to perform its contractual obligations is of key interest. This contribution analyses the conditions for exemption from liability with view to contracts for the international sale of goods subject to the 1980 CISG. It revisits the statutory requirements and illustrates COVID-19 scenarios that might satisfy the relevant thresholds. This article further examines the particular legal consequences following from an exemption from liability. Finally, this contribution addresses the newly revised ICC’s clauses on force majeure and hardship.

96. Eloise Scotford, Rethinking Clean Air: Air Quality Law and COVID-19, 2020.11.01, https://academic.oup.com/jel/article/32/3/349/5989812?searchresult=1 . Air quality has long been a serious health problem caused by industrialization and urbanization. It has also been a very difficult policy and regulatory problem to address.The pandemic sheds these air quality law challenges in a new light. It is a public health crisis with many links to air quality. Responding to the pandemic has involved bold regulatory experiments, heavily restricting behaviors that are prime causes of urban nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in particular. Above all, the pandemic has increased the profile of air quality as a social problem to address, creating a moment to rethink this problem and what we might do about it.

95. Yaniv Heled, Ana Santos Rutschman, Liza Vertinsky, The problem with relying on profit-driven models to produce pandemic drugs, 2020.08.06, https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/7/1/lsaa060/5882039?searchresult=1 . This article explains why profit-driven models for developing treatments for epidemic pathogens produce sub-optimal and sometimes negative public health outcomes. Using the example of the drug remdesivir, it demonstrates how the divergence of private incentives from public health needs has led to such outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article concludes that policy responses to this and future pandemics ought to be conceived and designed in ways that narrow the divergence of private interests from public health needs, including through greater public-sector involvement in pharmaceutical R&D.

94. Karl Stoeger, Martina Schmidhuber, The use of data from electronic health records in times of a pandemic—a legal and ethical assessment, 2020.06.16, https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/7/1/lsaa041/5856456?searchresult=1 . National electronic health record systems are becoming increasingly common. During a pandemic, data stored in such records could be used by health authorities to identify persons with a particular health risk. In this contribution, the authors focus on the question whether such state access to data could be disadvantageous to a person’s state of health in the long run. It follows that, even in times of a pandemic, access to personal data stored in patient-controlled health records should be used as a last resort only.

93. Meredith Van Natta, Paul Chen, etc., The rise and regulation of thermal facial recognition technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020.06.18, https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsaa038 . As the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, governments and corporations are turning to novel uses of biometric technologies to limit contagion and maintain economic opportunities. This raises important questions about the potential privacy implications of the widespread collection and use of such personal data. Recognizing that these emergent technologies may become entrenched long after this public health crisis subsides, this article focused on the case of fever checks and thermal facial recognition technology to illustrate the current state of the technology, existing policies related to its use, and suggestions for proactive policies to govern its deployment during and beyond the present pandemic.

92. Michele Ferrante, Managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on IP contracts governed by Chinese law: the SPC’s Guiding Opinion on force majeure, 2020.10.22, https://academic.oup.com/jiplp/article/15/9/689/5935548?searchresult=1 . The current COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by public authorities to control it have been causing disruptions across all sectors of society, When it comes to IP-related contracts, these effects have been equally disruptive. Licences often contain provisions for the payment of royalties, or other obligations such as minimum purchases or sales, which may become difficult to fulfil in a highly unsettled business environment. China was one of the first jurisdictions to clarify the extent to which the pandemic and the measures implemented by governments to contain it could fulfil the requirements of force majeure to excuse non-performance.

91. Neil Levy, Julian Savulescu, Epistemic responsibility in the face of a pandemic, 2020.5.28, https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/7/1/lsaa033/5848139?searchresult=1 . This paper argues that deference is required with regard to settled science: non-experts ought to defer with regard to climate science and the efficacy of vaccines. However, it suggests that this deference is warranted because these questions have been appropriately probed many times by many different kinds of people. While non-experts should defer to epidemiologists with regard to matters within the sphere of epidemiology specifically, responding to the pandemic requires expertise from many fields. We best build a consensus worth deferring to by contributing our expertise now.

90. Anna Kohte, Vulnerability in times of Corona-Guidelines from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Right to Health, 2020.5.28, https://voelkerrechtsblog.org/vulnerability-in-times-of-corona/ . The health emergency due to COVID-19 has reached Latin America with its full strength. The pandemic poses considerable challenges to this region, characterized by profound inequalities, as the virus has a disproportionate effect on people in vulnerable situations, such as indigenous communities, Afro-descendants and workers in the informal sector. In order to prevent further impact of the pandemic, special attention should be paid to those for whom it is difficult to take basic measures to prevent infection and even more difficult to reach health centers.

89. Audrey Lebret, COVID-19 pandemic and derogation to human rights, 2020.5.4, https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/7/1/lsaa015/5828398 . Under international human rights law, States can limit the exercise of most human rights if it is necessary to protect the rights of others or collective interests. The exceptional circumstances brought by the COVID-19 global pandemic lead to more extensive restrictions of human rights than in usual times. This article introduces the States’ specific right to derogate to human rights in circumstances of public emergency and the conditions of a legitimate derogation in the context of COVID-19. It argues that States must ensure that the general measures they adopt to face the crisis do not disproportionally harm vulnerable people.

88. Julian A. Hettihewa and Anna Holzscheiter,, Reclaiming the Voice of Youth: Pandemic Politics and Law and the Invisibility of Youth, 2020.12.3, https://www.ejiltalk.org/reclaiming-the-voice-of-youth-pandemic-politics-and-law-and-the-invisibility-of-youth/ . This blog post argues that there is an acute need to recognize the agency and creative will of young people in the context of political, legal, economic and societal responses to the pandemic. Recognizing both young people’s affection and their agency requires international law – as practice and as a scholarly discipline – to take into account the perspectives and experiences of young people in a systematic manner. And not only this: international law should actively advocate and defend the right to meaningful representation and participation of young people in pandemic politics and law, nationally and internationally.

Beijing Interest Group on Global Health and Global Governance
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