Thomson Reuters is pleased to publish a special issue of the Journal of Law and Medicine on issues relating to COVID-19. It incorporates international perspectives, including from Brazil, Canada, Russia and New Zealand, as well as from Australia.
The Journal carries an important multi-disciplinary review (by Mendelson et al) of issues arising from
the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic. This is of particular relevance to health
practitioners who are being disproportionately infected with the virus. It also includes a piece which reflects
on reproductive issues and COVID-19 (Dahlen et al).
There is also a reflective article (by Stobbs et al) on the role of compassion during the COVID pandemic. This is important at a time when levels of community
anxiety are escalating internationally and there is a need for humane values to underpin governmental,
clinical and legal responses.
The special issue includes analysis (by Freckelton) of the effects of the virus upon Australia’s criminal law in
relation to bail, sentencing, judge-alone trials and a review of a series of New South Wales Supreme Court
and Court of Appeal decisions in relation to the lawfulness of public assemblies during different phases of
the COVID-era.It also has a piece which scrutinises the response by Australia’s Family Court, as well as by
an influential Ontario decision, to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and distinctive jurisprudence that has
evolved in relation the wellbeing of children (by Freckelton).
Another piece (by Ranson) deals with challenges for forensic medical practice posed by the COVID-19
pandemic. The issue also includes analysis of a landmark public health law decision by the Brazil High
Court, overturning an attempt by the President of Brazil to suppress the availability of COVID data (by
Raposo and Freckelton). An article by Pospelova et al reviews the Russian legal response to the pandemic.
It provides a fascinating contrast to other countries’ legal responses to containing community transmission.
The journal’s editorial explores a research scandal which resulted in publication of deeply flawed COVID-19
scholarship in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. It links in with articles by Nicol et al and
Aboyeji about the importance of open access to research during a pandemic crisis.