Foundations and the System of Public Health Law in the Emergency Situation

Document Type : Original Article


Professor of Law and Philosophy, Department of Public Law and Economic Law, the Faculty of Law



The public health is undoubtedly one of the instances of public interests the lack of which would impose immense harm on the very existence of the collective life. This becomes more serious in emergency situations. More importantly, if a system of prioritisation of scares resources is not devised for such conditions, numberless lives would be lost and all dimensions of the collective life will be collapsed. The basic question relates to foundations of designing a method of prioritisation and provision of medical and health services in the emergency situation and to a public health system corresponding to these foundations. Translation and transformation of those foundations and this system into legal rules and procedures form the hard core of the “public health law”. In this research, upon referring to presupposition of the current discussions, we shall put forward, respectively, the mentioned foundations and the system. No doubt, the legal system of public health is expected to strike an internal balance in this structure, and also make this consistent with other pillars of the human civic life.


Main Subjects

  1. Allen. M.B. and Mirsaeidi. M. “Health and Economy in COVID-19 Era: A Plan for Reconstituting Long-Term Economic Security”, Frontiers in Public Health 8(235), 2020: 1-3.


Anderson. C.A. “A Pandemic Meets a Housing Crisis” in S. Burris et al. (eds

  1. .), Assessing Legal Responses to Covid-19 (2021) Boston: Public Health Law Watch, available at (accessed on 10 March 2021), pp. 187-192.


  1. APM Research Lab Staff. “The Color of Coronavirus: Covid-19 Deaths by Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.”. APM Research Lab (2021) available on (accessed on 14 March 2021).


  1. Battin, M.P. et al. “The Patient as Victim and Vector: Bioethics and the Challenge of Infectious Diseases” in R.E. Ashcroft et al. (eds.), Principles of Health Care Ethics, 2nd ed. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2007: 623-630.


  1. Begun, J.W. and Jiang, H.J. “Health Care Management During Covid-19: Insights from Complexity Science”, NEJAM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery 6, 2020: 1-12.


  1. Benzell et al. “Can Health Information Technology Save Lives During a Pandemic?” 2021: 45 available at (accessed on 31 March 2021).


  1. Beauchamp. D.E. “Public Health: Philosophy” in G.P. Post (ed.), Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd ed. USA: Macmillan, 2004: 2210-2214.


  1. Chia, T. O. and Oyeniran. I. “Human Health Versus Human Rights: An Emerging Ethical Dilemma Arising From Coronavirus Disease Pandemic” Ethics Medicine and Public Health. 14, 2020: 1-4.


  1. Chua. A.Q. et al.. “Health system resilience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons from Singapore” BMJ Global Health. 5, 2020: 1-8.


  1. DeBruin, D., Liaschenko, J. and Marchall, M.F. “Social Justice in Pandemic Preparedness” American Journal of Public Health. 102(4), 2012: 586-91.


  1. Ehni. H.J. Wiesing. U. and Ranisch. R. “Saving the most lives – A comparison of European triage guidelines in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic” Bioethics. 35(2), 2021: 131-132.


  1. Emanuel, E. And Wertheimer, A. “Who Should Get Influenza Vaccine When Not All Can?” Science, 2006: 854-855.


  1. Emanuel. E.J.  et al. “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19” The New England Journal of Medicine. 382(21), 2020: 2049-2055.


  1. Emanuel et al.. “An Ethical Framework for Global Vaccine Allocation” Science. 369(6509), 2020: 1309-1312.


  1. Fairchild, A., Gostin, L. and Bayer, R. “Vexing, Veiled, and Inequitable: Social Distancing and the “Rights” Divide in the Age of COVID-19”, The American Journal of Bioethics 20(7), 2020: 55-61.


  1. Fisher, O.M. et al. “Distributive justice during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Australia”, ANZ Journal of Surgery 90(6), 2020: 961-962.


  1. Gable, L. “Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources and Crisis Standards of Care”  in S. Burris, S. de Guia, D.E. Levin, W.E. Parmet and N.P. Terry (eds.), Assessing Legal Responses to Covid-19, Public Health Law Watch, 2020: 177-182.


  1. Gray. J. “Why this crisis is a turning point in history” New Statesman, available on (accessed on 5 April 2020).


  1. Giubilini, A., Savulescu, J. and Silkinson, D. “Queue questions: Ethics of COVID‐19 vaccine prioritization”, Bioethics 35(4), 2021: 1-8.


  1. Hedden. B. “On statistical criteria of algorithmic fairness” Philosophy & Public Affairs, 49(2), 2021: 209-231.


  1. Jennings. B. “Community in Public Health Ethics” in R.E. Ashcroft et al. (eds.), Principles of Health Care Ethics, 2nd ed. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2007: 543-548.


  1. Kringos. D. et al. “Managing COVID-19 within and across health systems: why we need performance intelligence to coordinate a global response” Health Research Policy and Systems 18(80), 2020: 1-8.


  1. Levine. P. “Why protect civil liberties during a pandemic?” Journal of Public Health Policy. 42(1), 2021: 154-159.


  1. Liu. Y. Salwi. S. and Drolet. B.C. “Multivalue ethical framework for fair global allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine” Journal of Medical Ethics. 46(1), 2020: 499-501.


  1. Matose. T. and Lanphier. E. “Rights Don’t Stand Alone: Responsibility for Rights in a Pandemic” The American Journal of Bioethics. 20(7), 2020: 169-172.


  1. Mounk, Y. “The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors”, The Atlantic, 2020, 11th March, available at (accessed on 27 March 2021).


  1. National Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Advisory on Right to Mental Health in Context of Covid-19 Pandemic, National Human Rights Commission (October 2020), India, available at: (accessed on 4 April 2021).


  1. OECD, Strengthening health systems during a pandemic: The role of development finance, OECD (June 2020), available at: (accessed on 2 December 2020).


  1. Plimmer, Gill and Clark, Pilita, Inside UK care homes: why the system fails its coronavirus test, Financial Times (April 2020), available at: (accessed on 25 April 2020).


  1. Reid, L. “Triage of critical care resources in COVID-19: a stronger role for justice” Journal of Medical Ethics. 48(8), 2020: 526-530.


  1. Sabatello, M., Burke, T.B., McDonald, K.E. and Appelbaum, P.S. “Disability, Ethics, and Health Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic”, American Journal of Public Health 110(10), 2020: 1523–1527.


  1. Schmitt, N.M. and Schmitt, J. “Definition of Public Health”, in Kirch W. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public Health, Dordrecht: Springer, 2008


  1. Singer, Peter, and Plant, Michael, When Will the Pandemic Cure Be Worse Than the Disease? Project Syndicate: the World’s Opinion Page (April 2020), available at: (accessed on 26 April 2020).


  1. Smith. M. and Upshur. R. “Pandemic Disease, Public Health, and Ethics” in A.C. Masteroianni, J.P. Kahn and N. Kass (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics. Oxford University Press. 2019: 797–811.


  1. Venkataramu, V., Banerjee, D. and Tss, R. “The Silent Victims of the Pandemic: Children and Adolescents during the Covid-19”, Journal of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health 16(3), 2020: 17-31.