A National Emergency or a Public Health Crisis? Reflecting on the 2020 and 2021 Manx Responses to the Global Pandemic


  • Peter W Edge




The Isle of Man, a self-governing Crown Dependency, developed its own response to the global pandemic, including strict border controls and periods of lockdown. In 2020, this was given legal effect through the declaration of a formal State of Emergency, while, in 2021, similar measures were implemented under public health legislation without a State of Emergency. Framing the 2021 lockdowns as a public health crisis led to a more tightly focused response than the 2020 framing as a national emergency. Within this narrower range, however, the structure of the public health legislation as implemented provided less democratic accountability than the emergency powers legislation and reduced the emphasis given to the rules as laws, leading to a decrease in formality in relation to both creation and publication of these legal rules, and exacerbating a blurring between law and advice. These disadvantages were not, however, intrinsic to the public health legislation itself, and if corrected the public health response is to be preferred.

Keywords: pandemic; State of Emergency; public health, Isle of Man.


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Special Section: Law, Public Policy and the Covid Crisis—Part One