2. Accessing Justice amid Threats of Contagion

While plans for the containment and control of new and potentially deadly pathogens have long existed, pandemic planning and preparedness efforts proliferated rapidly after the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, the emergence of the looming threat of H5N1 (avian influenza), and the declaration by the World Health Organization of an H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in 2009. The projection of 62 million deaths and devastating economic consequences arising from the next influenza pandemic is frequently cited (The Lancet, 2009). Importantly, plans to respond to the worrisome possibility of a global influenza pandemic have been developed in an environment significantly influenced by the events of 9/11 and subsequent anthrax attacks in the United States. “Legal preparedness,” understood as the enactment of the necessary constellation of law and legal authority, has emerged as a critical component of pandemic preparedness. Yet, this description invites the question of precisely what laws are indeed necessary — a question that can only be answered by interrogating more closely how the threat is conceptualized and who is understood to be threatened.

This chapter was reprinted with permission. Original citation: Mosher, J. E. (2014). Accessing justice amid threats of contagion. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 51(3), 919-956.
Kristy Buccieri
Rebecca Schiff
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