Impact and challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic for independent justice: report

9 April 2021
Issued by
The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
To the HRC at its 47th session


The report focuses on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the administration of justice

Statement of the Special Rapporteur at the 47th session of the HRC: English


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has severely undermined the functioning of judicial systems, increasing the risk that States will be left without a functioning, accessible and independent system of justice. Its impact has been uneven, differing from country to country, but has tended to be disproportionately severe for vulnerable groups. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers examines the effects of this new situation and the main challenges that it raises for the administration of justice.

In the report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 44/8, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on judicial systems and their independence and on access to justice, and makes a number of recommendations intended to help State authorities to guarantee access to justice and a functioning and independent system that is open to the people.

Inputs received

The Special Rapporteur prepared a questionnaire calling for contributions from States, international and regional human rights bodies, professional associations of judges and lawyers, and civil society organizations.

The questionnaire was available in English | Français | Español.

The following States and non-State actors provided written contributions to the preparation of the report.


1. Albania

2. Algeria

3. Andorra

4. Argentina

5. Armenia

6. Austria

7. Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

8. Bosnia and Herzegovina

9. Brazil

10. Brunei Darussalam

11. Chile

12. Croatia

13. Ecuador

14. Estonia

15. Fiji

16. Finland

17. Georgia

18. Greece

19. Guatemala

20. Guyana

21. Honduras

22. Hungary

23. Ireland

24. Italy

25. Kazakhstan

26. Kyrgyzstan

27. Latvia

28. Lebanon: 1, 2

29. Macao, China

30. Malaysia

31. Maldives: 1, 2

32. Malta

33. Morocco

34. Mozambique

35. North Macedonia

36. Qatar

37. Republic of Moldova

38. Romania: 1, 2

39. Russian Federation

40. Rwanda

41. Saudi Arabia

42. Singapore

43. Slovenia: 1, 2

44. South Africa

45. Switzerland

46. Syrian Arab Republic

47. Turkey

48. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

49. United States of America

Associations of judges and magistrates

50. Association of Brazilian Magistrates

51. Association of European Administrative Judges (Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy,

Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom)

52. Association of judges in Finland/Association of Finnish lawyers

53. Association of judges of the Republic of Armenia

54. Cyprus Judges Association

55. German judges' association

56. Judges' association of Serbia

57. Latvian association of judges

58. Asociación Profesional de la Magistratura (Spain)

59. Swedish judges association

60. Union of judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Civil society organizations

61. Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Ciudad de México

62. International Bar Association, Human Rights Institute

63. International Commission of Jurists

64. Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights (Middle East)

65. Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders

66. Partners for Transparency (Turkey)

67. Women's Link Worldwide

68. Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

69. Castan Center for Human Rights Law

Intergovernmental organizations

70. Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

72. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

73. European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)

Special Procedures

Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Recent thematic reports
Contact information

Diego García-Sayán
Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Address: OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix,
1211 Geneve 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006