Helen Keller on science, policy and the European Court of Human Rights

How do courts use scientific advice, and when does it change public policy?

Just as politicians and policymakers need scientific advice to inform their decisions, so too do judges. But in the adversarial context of a courtroom, science and evidence can be even more hotly contested than in the public policy sphere. And in recent years, campaigners from several European countries have tried to bring the science of climate change before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, hoping to force national governments into dramatic policy changes.

Professor Helen Keller, for nine years a judge on the Strasbourg bench, discusses these cases with Toby Wardman, as well as drawing analogies between the challenges faced by science advisors to governments and expert witnesses in courtrooms.