Epidemiology and litigation—the Sellafield childhood leukaemia cases

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Abstract:

Statisticians and scientists are often required to provide information outside the scientific community. One important example is as an expert witness in the law courts. The civil litigation cases of Reay versus British Nuclear Fuels plc and Hope versus British Nuclear Fuels plc are a vivid illustration of how science and scientists interact with the law and lawyers. The personal injury cases were decided on the basis of how a specific epidemiological association should be properly interpreted, and this involved many experts. It is desirable that statisticians and scientists understand the nature of expert evidence, and these two cases are used to illuminate the role of the scientist in civil litigation.

Keywords: Association and causation; Expert evidence; Ionizing radiation; Legal judgments; Legal process; Science and Law

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-985X.00111

Affiliations: British Nuclear Fuels plc, Warrington, UK

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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