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Undermining Loyalty to Legality? An Empirical Analysis of Perceptions of 'Lockdown' Law and Guidance During COVID-19

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JournalModern Law Review
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2022
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 5 Jul 2022
Number of pages21
Early online date5/07/22
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article substantially extends the existing constitutional and legal critiques of the use of soft law public health guidance in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing upon the findings of a national survey undertaken during the first wave of the pandemic in June 2020, it shows how the perceived legal status of lockdown rules made a significant difference as to whether the UK public complied with them and that this effect is a product of the legitimacy that law itself enjoys within UK society. Based on this analysis, it argues that the problems with the government’s approach to guidance, that have been subjected to criticism in constitutional and legal terms, may also be open to critique on the basis that they risk undermining the public’s loyalty to the law itself.

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© 2022 The Authors

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