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Goettingen Journal of International Law Essay Competition

GoJIL is thrilled to announce it is accepting entries for its Student Essay Competition. The title is: International Law in Times of a Pandemic.

GoJIL is seeking entries that explore such questions from novel and interesting perspectives.

Your contribution might consider – but need not be limited to – an exploration of the following questions:

  • The global institutional landscape: Is the current global institutional landscape (United Nations [UN], World Health Organization [WHO], Global Fund, GAVI, and others) suited to address the ongoing pandemic and future pandemics?

  • The tension between human rights and the containment of the virus: Do autocratic regimes have the upper hand in controlling pandemic outbreaks? What are the requirements, if any, under international law on restricting the fundamental rights of citizens to protect the public`s health? How do legal responses to the pandemic vary and compare between countries in this regard and others?

  • The global distribution and development of vaccines and other countermeasures: Does international law require and/or support an equitable distribution of countermeasures between countries? If so, how could legal distribution arrangements be designed? You may wish to refer to the WHO’s COVAX facility, its Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, and/or other already existing initiatives.

  • The global economy with regards to financial regulation, trade, and economic liberalization: How can legal arrangements help to address negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and support positive trends that the pandemic may have engendered, e.g. for the environment?

  • State responsibility: Is and/or should it be possible for States to hold one another accountable under the general law of state responsibility in pandemics?

  • European integration: Which shifts, if any, did and does the COVID-19 pandemic produce in the fabric of European institutions? What role could the EU take in global legal arrangements that support pandemic preparedness?

  • The prevention of future pandemics: Is the pandemic human-made or a natural disaster? In either case, how can international law support better pandemic preparedness and response in the future? As a starting point, you may wish to refer to existing efforts and arrangements such as the WHO International Health Regulations (2005) and/or the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The deadline for submission is 1st August 2021. The maximum word count is 5,000 words (excluding footnotes and abstract). The winning submission will be published in an upcoming issue of the GoJIL.

For queries, please contact Ida Oks at


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