“Let the bodies pile high”: Analysing inequality, precarity, and disposable lives in the liminal spaces created by healthcare law, policy, and regulation, during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
Summary of research
This thesis examines how existing structural inequalities (including social, economic, and health inequalities) in the United Kingdom, were revealed and exacerbated by both the Covid-19 pandemic itself, as well as the State’s laws, policies, and regulations implemented in response to it. The thesis will undertake an analysis of the State’s responses to the pandemic through a lens which focuses on vulnerability and precarity, specifically where these vulnerabilities are magnified by the liminal spaces created by public healthcare regulations, law, and policy.
These issues are important and topical, as while the Covid-19 pandemic is a natural disaster, its spread and the disproportionately debilitating, and often deadly, effect on certain vulnerable persons and communities is not a result of a natural and discrete phenomena. It is an outcome which is predicated on the policy choices made by the State, and existing structural inequalities were a precondition which allowed the Covid-19 virus to thrive. While healthcare laws and policy were, and are currently, implemented as emergency measures to alleviate the immediate impact of the pandemic on individuals, it is important to understand how vulnerable people and groups face unique challenges in respect of public health directives and regulations, and are disproportionately subjected to sanctions and enforcement procedures. Covid-19 is an ongoing major global health issue, and therefore it is important to address not only the impact of emergency public health law, regulation, and policy, but how these responses and measures affect and compound existing structural inequalities.
Nina Reinach is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London, in the areas of healthcare law and feminist legal theory. Before undertaking her PhD, she obtained her BA(Hons) majoring in English Literature and South African Law (distinction), and postgraduate Honours in English Literature (cum laude) from Rhodes University, South Africa. She completed her LLB(Hons) at Durham University (first class honours) and LLM at the University of Cambridge (Darwin College). She is a Laidlaw Scholar (2017) and Denning Scholar (The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, 2019).
Nina is also an avid participant in mooting competitions and most recently represented Cambridge at the Phillip C. Jessup International Mooting Competition. Aside from her legal studies, she has a keen interest in martial arts as a holder of black belts in karate and kobudo, and also enjoys playing darts competitively.
- Reinach, N. and Cave, E. “Patient Rights to Participate in Treatment Decisions: Choice, Consultation and Knowledge” (2019) 7(2) Journal of Medical Law and Ethics 157.
- Reinach, N., Cave, E., and Devaney S., et al. “The far-reaching implications of Montgomery for risk disclosure in practice” (2018) 24(1) Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management 25.
- Presented with Professor E. Cave, “Reimagining Healthcare Law” (2018) at Birmingham University.
- Presented with Professor E. Cave, “How much Information is Enough? Practical Perspectives on Medical Risk Disclosure” (2017) at Manchester University.