Managing Facts and Feelings in Environmental Governance
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Managing Facts and Feelings in Environmental Governance

Edited by Lorenzo Squintani, Jan Darpö, Luc Lavrysen and Peter-Tobias Stoll

This timely book brings to the foreground the considerable tensions between the need to engage the public in the importance of environmental governance and the need of professional expertise to address the issues which arise. In doing so, it highlights that not only can public opinion deviate from scientific knowledge, but scientific knowledge itself can be lacunose or contradicting. Drawing together insights from some of the leading scholars, this engaging work will provide guidance to decision makers, including judges, on how to govern public participation procedures and professional expertise and the role that the precautionary principle can play in this regard.
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Chapter 7: Scientific evidence in Swedish courts: the use of technical judges for better integration of scientific data in environmental decision-making

Mikael Schultz

Abstract

Chapter 7 discusses the approach taken by the Swedish Land and Environment Courts. In particular, this chapter focuses on how to incorporate science-based evidence in environmental proceedings before these courts by highlighting the solutions developed by the Swedish judiciary. Subsequently, the chapter deals with the role of the ‘technical judge’, a non-lawyer with broad experience in natural science or civil engineering. On the basis of explicative case studies, this chapter details the contribution of the technical judge in understanding and evaluating the technical or scientific material submitted by the parties’ experts. Consequently, as is demonstrated, the technical judge has a role to play in keeping the judgments, and the resulting permit conditions, in line with scientific insights and developments. The chapter, further, discusses when case law should be changed due to new scientific knowledge. Finally, the chapter includes a more philosophical discussion on the question whether the law may actually permit a certain degree of uncertainty in the court.

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