Hundreds of coronavirus laws have been brought into force in the last year, amounting to some of the most sweeping powers curtailing freedoms in peacetime history.
Rules on why people could leave their house, what they could do, where they could go and who they could see while being bound by orders on wearing face masks, limits on numbers and curfews all seemed almost impossible to imagine just 12 months previously.
The tough lockdown laws and the confusion some of them caused – particularly when there was a mismatch between the legislation and government guidance – prompted some of the most surreal debates ever conceived on things like whether certain eating habits and leisure activities were allowed.
Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, who has been charting lockdown laws and deciphering the complicated legal documents for the public on Twitter, told the PA news agency: “It is unprecedented to think we have had laws like this and have seen law-making like this over the last year.
“We have had fundamentally important criminal laws being passed by ministers in the middle of the night.”
In the past Mr Wagner has been critical of the way emergency laws were introduced, particularly over how documents setting out the rules were often made public sometimes within minutes of them coming into force late at night and how some were “strewn” with errors because of the rushed nature in which they were being put together.
This is problematic, he says, because it makes impossible for the public to understand and abide by them and for the police to properly and fairly enforce them.
“I think the country has not been very well served in the way it was done”, he added, fearing it has caused the public to lose respect for the law and Parliament and ultimately that the way they were handled made them “bad laws”.