Times of disasters are times of compensation law. Those who suffer damage through no fault of their own will seek to obtain compensation; and states may feel obliged to provide assistance. But under what conditions are states bound - or at least willing - to accept a legal responsibility in this respect? The COVID 19 crisis has raised this question anew. To provide answers, it is not only necessary to gain a systematic understanding of social compensation, but also to reconstruct the legal foundations of state liability.
The task for legal science is to develop a consistent "public compensation law" comprising both state liability which is rooted in the protection of fundamental rights, and social compensation with its foundation in the social state principle. Ulrich Becker dealt extensively with this field of legal research in his monograph "Soziales Entschädigungsrecht" (Nomos 2018) and, with regard to the Corona pandemic, in an article for the "Handbuch des Infektionsschutzrechts" (Beck 2021). In view of the COVID 19 crisis, it can be concluded that if a state assumes legal responsibility for the economic and social consequences of a pandemic by granting compensation for crisis-related damages and losses, it does so as an expression of its obligations arising from the social state principle. The basis for this must not only be budgetary law, but sufficient legal foundations have to be created.