Call for panels: Transformative effects of Covid-19 on Law and Globalisation


Transformative effects of Covid-19 on Globalisation & Law

16-17 September 2021

It is hard to name an area of life that the Coronavirus pandemic has not affected – from travelling to doing groceries and from grieving to global politics. Yet, as we brace to enter the second year with Covid-19, we can see that some of the effects are more transient, others are here to stay: the pandemic will have had transformative effects in a number of domains. What about law?

With a virus travelling fast across the globe in the early days of the pandemic and a number of global actors involved in all sort of interventions, globalisation as we knew it had come under strain. International organizations like the World Health Organizations have both acquired unprecedented visibility and suffered from an extraordinary crisis of legitimacy. Rules blocking air travel from high-risk countries were widely condemned at first, only to become mainstream as the infection figures rose. Recommendations in one country were hard rules in the next country and courts had to review measures ranging from state of emergency declarations to face mask mandates.

Global value chains were the subject of disruption, reconversion, contestation while governments quarrelled over face masks and vaccines. When economic activities more or less selectively went or were put on a halt, safety nets were introduced and new accommodations were sought. Change may be illusory or rather superficial: while scores of headlines announced that “the workplace” will never be the same again, car traffic (and pollution) levels have, in most cases, quickly gone back to pre-pandemic levels. The United States have re-joined the WHO and the EU concentrates much of its hopes for a quick recovery on a new business-as-usual trade deal with China. But there are reasons to think that many of the important discussions we have had during the past year will have a lasting impact: from access to healthcare to competition rules, the pandemic has brought a renewed interest in strong public institutions. 

Within the research theme Transformative effects of Globalisation in Law, we want to look at the possible transformative effects of the pandemic through three main lenses: boundaries and international cooperationtransformative effects on markets and transformation of institutions. The conference will close with a roundtable reflecting on the implications of the ongoing transformations – (how) can law help in reconstructing “better”, in light of the further crises we are all facing?

As possible themes to be explored, think of the following:

  • Coordination and multi-level pandemic governance
  • Vaccines, TRIPs exceptions and IP caution
  • Evidence-based law and policy in the pandemic
  • Will free movement ever be the same again?
  • Covid-19 and global trade
  • Love and care at the time of Covid: reproductive labour
  • The contestation of expertise and/or
  • Independent agencies and regulatory institutions – a new role for central banks and competition authorities? 
  • Covid-19 and courts: how to test government intervention in the midst of a global emergency?
  • Covid-19 and the Anthropocene

We invite scholars from within and outside the Transformative effects of globalisation in law theme to convene a panel on one of these themes or a related theme investigating by preference the transformative effects of the pandemic on the legal configuration of international cooperation and boundaries, institutions and markets. Interested colleagues should provide an abstract for their panel, including a tentative list of speakers, by 1 April

Panels can take different formats in accordance with the organizers’ wishes, but they should last no longer than ninety minutes (a double panel is an option). We hope to have contributions put down in the form of a blog post, but no full papers are required unless a panel expressly chooses to opt for a more committal format. While the conference will be an online event, we will provide support for producing clips of the various panels and seek ways to provide visibility to conference papers/presentations/blogposts. If you have questions in preparation for your submission, feel free to get in touch! Please address your proposals, or any other queries, to