twenty-six years, the Californian Edwin Hardeman sprayed the weed killer Roundup on his property. Only with the Monsanto product, which is the controversial chemical glyphosate contains, was he a persistent ivy Climbing poison – ivy-on his Land. In 2015, Doctors diagnosed him with a malignant lymphoma, in 2016, he brought an action against the manufacturer of the herbicide, the German chemical and pharmaceutical group Bayer, Monsanto. This week, the US confirmed-the court: The weed killer caused hard Mans cancer.
the Moment. Can decide on a dish at all? Can judge a judge about how is a carcinogen is a substance? It can be about scientific facts, as it would be in court everyday issue?
“most of The judges in the background to judge scientific evidence is missing simply,” says Tilmann Altwicker, a lawyer at the University of Zurich. “Such judgments reveal a fundamental Problem of the legal system.” Altwicker explores the relationship between law and science in Switzerland. His investigations show, for example, that the Swiss Federal Supreme court uses, although more and more scientific statistics to make his Decisions. Thus, the term “statistics” in landmark decisions of the Federal Supreme court since 1954, a five-fold. Overall, however, the proportion of Decisions that are based on the statistics, in the year 2016 will still be below one percent.
“One reason is probably fear of contact of the judge with the science,” says Altwicker. Because, in the Jus of course of study, the students would be made neither with statistics nor with natural or social scientific methods. The language of this science is the judges, therefore, foreign, says Altwicker. “This leads inevitably to decide to Fail.”
faulty decision of the Federal court?
what is a problem is, for example, have been the judgment of the Swiss Federal Supreme court in the Wädenswiler “bell dispute”. Two courts of Zurich prohibited the Church in the centre of Wädenswil, the Ringing of the quarter hour strikes in the night. Thus, the judge, the noise came action a in the immediate vicinity of the Church of the living couple. In December 2017, the Federal court quashed the previous judgments, however.
The Spicy to this decision: The court was a study of the ETH Zurich, investigated how often people Wake up by nocturnal bell ringing. The researchers found a clear connection. However, in its judgment, the Federal court described the study as not decisive, and against the Express recommendation of the Federal office for the environment, which had called for the bells to cease between 22 o’clock in the evening and 7 o’clock in the morning.
In its decision, the Federal court considered that the sample size for the ETH-study for to small. You can see with good reasons, otherwise, says a lawyer Altwicker. “The judges have not appreciated the Design of the study.” Because even if the study only 27 of the subjects investigated – that was not the actual sample. Because the ETH-Zurich researchers studied not humans but individual Wake-up events. And there were in the study 1322 – enough to make a waterproof statement.
At the University of Zurich Altwicker calls, therefore, that Law students should visit one or two semesters of statistics. Altwicker, himself, has done his homework: In the years 2015 to 2017, he earned a degree in applied statistics at the ETH Zurich.
Even if he encounters resistance – the Jus-study today is Packed already full, Altwicker to his claim: “data in our world is becoming more and more important,” he says. “That prospective lawyers must deal to learn.”
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