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New research to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the informal economy

The IEL Collective researchers are collaborating in a new project, Ruptures21: Informality in COVID-19 Times. The collaboration responds to the challenges posed by old and current economic, social and legal dynamics and their impact on the human and non-human world. Through international interdisciplinary and institutional collaborations, it advances novel ways to understand and address global issues.

Ruptures21 call for a break with set approaches and new ways of acting and being.

Our first arena of study is on Informal Work and Public Health in Colombia: Targeted Regulation during the COVID-19 Global Emergency which will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on informal workers in Colombia.

This project brings together a group of socio-legal scholars, labour economists, public health experts, anthropologists, cinematographers, infographers, web-designers and public policy makers in order to study the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on informal workers and their economies, using Colombia as its main case study.

Mixing media and blurring the boundaries between quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and between practice and the academy, outcomes of this project include multilingual policy briefings, life histories, documentaries, online outreach platforms and the first comprehensive data-base of aggregated data on informality in Colombia. Highlighting both the enormous yet often forgotten contribution of informal workers to the general economy of nations and the ultra-precarities they face in moments of public health crises, the outcomes of this project make an urgent call for a new set of new social, economic and health policies in Colombia and similar countries.

Informality in Covid-19 Times is supported by the University of Kent, the University of Essex, the University of Warwick and Rosario University and has been conducted in alliance with the Observatory for Women’s Equity (ICESI, Colombia), LaboUR, the Research Group on Public Health and Epidemiology (Rosario University) and AlianzaEFI.

The collaboration forms part of ongoing work by the IEL Collective to encourage public debate and policy innovation in relation to the role of the current international economic order. Supported by 12 institutions (including Warwick Law School, Essex Law School, Kent Law School and Rosario University), the IEL Collective has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with a series of open access interventions, articles and interviews.

Thu 30 Jul 2020, 14:41

IEL Collective researchers support call to suspend debt service for indebted countries to free up resources to fight Covid-19

Dr Stephen Connelly (Associate Professor in Law) and Dr Celine Tan (Reader in Law), Co-Directors of the Centre for the Law, Regulation and Governance of the Global Economy (GLOBE Centre) at the Warwick Law School are supporting civil society groups, led by Jubilee Debt Campaign UK and Oxfam GB, in proposing legislation in the UK that will have the effect of suspending debt owed to private creditors of countries eligible for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

The DSSI commits G20 and Paris Club official creditors to a time-bound suspension of debt service for eligible countries that request such forbearance in order to free up resources for low-income countries to support health, humanitarian and social and economic measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this proposal is to give legislative effect to the commitment made by private creditors for voluntary debt service suspension that mirrors the G20 deal.

Dr Connelly and Dr Tan, are working with Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima (Durham Law School) and Chris Tassis (Warwick Law School) under the auspices of the recently formed The IEL Collective Law and Finance Working Group to develop mechanisms for managing the sovereign debt of low and middle-income countries to meet the economic and financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Connelly explains: "Under this legislative proposal, private creditors holding English law bonds issued by a qualifying country will be barred from pursuing legal or arbitral proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, against that qualifying country in any court of the United Kingdom during a determinate moratorium period. The current proposal is time-bound, does not interfere with the underlying contractual rights of parties to the contract and is contingent on the country subject to such claims to make such a request of suspension to the court.”

Dr Tan adds: "Enshrining a standstill in law will demonstrate UK’s leadership in global COVID-19 responses and reinforce its commitment to ensuring low-income countries have access to all the financial resources they need to contain COVID-19 and recover from this unprecedented health, social and economic crisis. It is recognised that the current proposal is limited in resolving the longer-term debt burden of developing countries, but it is hoped that it will serve as an emergency measure to enable breathing space for countries while more comprehensive and sustainable mechanisms are being developed."

Dr Connelly and Dr Tan have previously worked with JDC and with Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Foreign Debt and Human Rights on issues relating to sovereign debt and financing for developing countries.

Visit the GLOBE Centre Briefing Note and the proposal briefing for further details on their proposal.

Thu 30 Jul 2020, 07:55

Launch of new YouTube Channel, April 2020

The IEL Collective has launched a YouTube channel to share our thoughts and ideas through a series called IEL Collective Conversations. Our first series (1-7) is on the intersections of international economic law and the COVID-19 pandemic but we hope to chat about other things IEL-related in due course.

Fri 22 May 2020, 19:15 | Tags: YouTube videos

IEL Collective Medium Publication launched March 2020

We are launching this Medium publication so that we can individually and collectively publish works that highlight the challenges, problems and opportunities for international economic law as it is broadly defined. Spanning international trade, development, financing, intellectual property, investment law, and business and human rights, our scholars are working together to challenge the status quo and ensure law and public policy work effectively for people and communities.

Our first article is on International Economic Law and COVID-19. In this intervention, we, members of The IEL Collective, reflect on (some of) the ways in which IEL is intermingled with the problematic patterns of globalized production and consumption underpinning the slow responses and rapid spread of COVID-19; and the ways in which we could respond to this crisis in a more globally just and sustainable way.

The IEL Collective will be launching a project to collate thoughts, ideas and reflections on this reimagination. If you would like to contribute to our project, please send us an email to We would love to hear from you.

This article was written collectively by Donatella Alessandrini, School of Law, University of Kent; Daria Davitti, Faculty of Law, Lund University and School of Law, University of Nottingham; Luis Eslava, School of Law, University of Kent; Clair Gammage, School of Law, University of Bristol; Annamaria La Chimia, School of Law, University of Nottingham; Serena Natile, School of Law, Brunel University London; Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima, School of Law, University of Durham; Celine Tan, School of Law, University of Warwick; Tara Van Ho, School of Law, University of Essex; Amaka Vanni, Independent Scholar and President-Elect, African Society of International Economic Law; Paolo Vargiu, School of Law, University of Leicester; and Anil Yilmaz Vastardis, School of Law, University of Essex.

Fri 22 May 2020, 18:56

The IEL Pop-up Collection, November 2019

Amanda Perry-Kessaris curated this lovely exhibition of The IEL Pop-Up Collection, a collection of everyday objects that represent facets of international economic law. Find out more on Amanda's page

Fri 22 May 2020, 18:46 | Tags: Pop-up Collection

The IEL Collective Inaugural Conference Symposia, University of Warwick, November 2019

Our inuaugral conference held at the University of Warwick from 6 - 7 November 2019 was attended by aProgramme and badgeslmost 80 colleagues from all over the world. The depth and richness of the presentations and discussions at the conference were second to none. We promised to bring the conference to those who could not make it and our three-part blog symposia is way of us doing so.

The symposia is edited by Dr Clair Gammage, School of Law, University of Bristol and Dr Amaka Vanni, Independent Scholar and President-Elect, African International Economic Law Network (AfIELN) . The symposia is published by AfronomicsLaw and University of Bristol Law School Blog.

We would like to thank AfronomicsLaw editors Olabisi Akinkugbe, James Gathii,  Nthope Mapefane and Titilayo Adebola and Lee McConnell and all at the University of Bristol Law School Blog for their support in publishing this symposia.

We would like to thank for their support in publishing this symposium.The IEL Collective Inaugural Conference Symposia

Fri 22 May 2020, 17:49 | Tags: Inaugural Conference Symposia