Chapter 7: Scientific evidence in Swedish courts: the use of technical judges for better integration of scientific data in environmental decision-making
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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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