Model Law on the Prevention of Pandemics

Under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, states are currently negotiating a convention or instrument on the prevention of pandemics. To support the negotiations and to prepare states for the future transposition of the convention or instrument, the Regulatory Institute publishes here a model law on pandemics prevention.

Download Pandemics Prevention ML

The Regulatory Institute has been following the negotiations for a convention or instrument on the prevention of pandemics undertaken by the World Health Organisation in view of pointing to possibilities to make it more effective. It called for a more complete and more concrete text.

To underpin this call, the Regulatory Institute publishes here a model law on pandemics prevention. The likelihood of more provisions being inserted into the convention or instrument is low. But it is possible for contracting parties to suggest additional protocols:

  • A first protocol seems necessary to counter the risks caused by laboratories and factories, as these risks are, so far, only marginally and superficially addressed in the negotiated text.
  •  A second protocol should tackle the lack of cooperation between states in case a pandemic threatens the entire humankind. All states should be empowered to sanction non-cooperative states when the entire humankind is at risk.

The second purpose of the early publication of the model law on pandemics prevention is to illustrate what it might take to effectively transpose the future convention or instrument into national law. In most states, international conventions or instruments are not directly applicable in the national legal order and thus need a transposition law. Moreover, even where such a transposition law is not legally needed, it will be very useful considering that the future convention or instrument is lacking preciseness and “bite”, which is the usual consequence of international negotiations requesting consensus of all parties. It is in no way the fault of the negotiators.

The Regulatory Institute will check whether its model law needs updating once the final text of the convention or instrument has been published by the World Health Organization. Please stay posted to be informed on an updated model law.

In view of the different implementation capacities of jurisdictions, including those of developed economies, the following colour coding is used in this Model Law on the Prevention of Pandemics:

  • Green stands for provisions which are “technically easy to implement” or “unavoidable / essential whilst being of medium difficulty to implement”; we thus recommend the green provisions for all jurisdictions.
  • The provisions marked in yellow are all of medium difficulty.

The model law is constructed in such a way that it could “stand” with the green provisions alone, but that the sections or provisions in yellow can be added as extension modules.

In the above, we refer to the aspect of technically simple and medium  implementation. This parameter alone should not be the basis on which provisions are included or excluded in a particular regulation. What is more important is the overall quantitative implementation and in particular, the enforcement capacity of the jurisdiction, even very advanced technical jurisdictions should consider this carefully. Hence the following questions need to be answered:

  • Do we have the necessary (quantitative) enforcement capacities to enforce all the provisions we deem ideal?
  • If not, which provisions shall we mainly focus on in terms of enforcement, where shall we steer our resources?

As a result of this sequence of questions, even some provisions marked in green will need to be eliminated at the end of the day, and this even in technically very advanced jurisdictions. Again, we encourage the regulator to be selective.


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