Is it always true to say that science is, by definition, universal whilst laws and the courts which apply them are a classic state and national expression? Yes and no. In recent years a new scenario has opened all over the world. Courts intervene more and more in disputes on matters related to scientific procedures in the biological field. In doing so the courts' decisions are affected by scientific issues and ways of reasoning and, on the other hand, affect the scientific field and its way of reasoning. While the old matter of bioethics was still alive and while judges were improving their skill in dealing with hard matters, like refusal of medical treatments, abortion, euthanasia et cetera, a new challenge appeared on the horizon, the challenge of biological sciences, and especially of the most troubled field of human genetics. A completely new awareness is developing among judges that they belong to an international judiciary community, as informal as it is real. Such a community is, even at an embryonic stage, sufficiently universal to be able to come together with the international scientific community. The authors maintain we are in urgent need for new interaction between judges and scientists and of new international means in the light of such cooperation. Judges and jurists need to become better acquainted with scientific questions and learn to exchange ideas with scientists. They also need to set themselves against the latters' conceptual systems and be willing to put their own up for discussion. A European Network for Life Sciences, Health and the Courts is taking its first steps, and judges and scientists are working side by side to tackle the new challenges. The provisional headquarters are located at the University of Pavia (I), Laboratorio di Biologia dello Sviluppo and Collegio Ghislieri (e-mail:. enlscυnipv.it). ENLSC activity is inspired by the following idea: to be against science is as much antiscientific as to be acritically pro-science.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health