Health Promotion Forum


Ensuring Effective Judicial Protection: Well-being and the Rule of Law

Moderator: Benn McGrady, WHO


  • Professor Paola Iamiceli, University of Trento
  • Safura Abdool Karim, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Rachel Macleod, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • Dr Bernard Mogesa, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Organised by WHO, Public Health Law and Policies Unit, Health Promotion Department

Rule of law and effective judicial protection are important contributors to health and well-being. Laws enable government action to reduce health risks, while constraining that action in the name of other interests, such as protection of fundamental rights. In this sense, law can create institutional frameworks that enable governments to address health risks through responses that are proportionate, protective of vulnerable groups and that balance competing interests. The links between law and well-being have become more apparent in the context of government responses to COVID-19. Lessons have been learned regarding emergency powers laws and public health interventions have frequently been challenged before the courts on grounds that they violate fundamental rights or offer insufficient protection for vulnerable groups. This forum will examine lessons learned and launch a new database of case law compiling legal challenges to COVID-19 interventions.