An Examination of the Practice of the Habeas Corpus Act during the COVID-19 Epidenic
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the state has adopted a variety of measures to restrict or deprive personal freedom, including “centralized quarantine” on “home quarantine” for travelers, “isolation treatment” for confirmed cases, and “home isolation” for contacts of confirmed cases. The Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Law or the Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens does not require pre-or post judicial review for these measures that restrict people’s physical freedom, making filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus the only immediate relief for the people detained. To understand to what extent the writ of habeas corpus provides relief to the people affected by isolation and quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, this article searched the Judicial Yuan’s judgment system and found four petition cases requesting release. After analyzing the courts’ ruling, it is found that although the Habeas Corpus Act provides people with immediate relief, the system has a tendency to become a rubber stamp for administrative isolation or quarantine measures since the court improperly narrowed the definition of detention, only examines the formality without issuing an arraignment ticket, and examines the legality of the procedure rather than the substantive elements of the detention.