司法正義與科學事實如何交會?從Daubert爭議看法律、科學與社會

Author Info
陳信行
世新大學社會發展研究所副教授

中文摘要

    包括公害、職業病與產品責任等課題的「毒物侵權訴訟」(toxic tort litigation),從工業革命以來,就時常成為關於工業製程與產品對不同人群的危害問題的科學與社會爭論場域。美國從1993年開始的一系列關於法庭應當如何處理這種訴訟中的科學證據和專家證人與證詞的爭論,通過三個最高法院判例,產生了所謂「Daubert標準」;該標準的實施大量減少了美國毒物侵權訴訟的數量。十餘年來的爭議中,工業界與司法界多持肯定態度,但科學及其他領域專業者對於Daubert標準幾乎都強烈反對。

  本文檢視Daubert標準形成的背景、過程、及其立即影響,討論其中「科學事實」的邊界如何在爭議中被不同行動者打造、推移,並介紹美國STS學界對此的分析。同時,本文討論了Daubert標準所代表的制式科學因果觀之外的兩個重要的另類觀點:日本的「疫學原則」與歐盟的化學品登記法規所根據的「預防原則」。最後,本文嘗試討論類似RCA職業病案等台灣的司法訴訟事件對於STS學術所提出的重要知識課題。

Abstract

Toxic tort litigation, including pollution, occupational hazard, and product liability disputes, has long been one of the norm-setting mechanisms regulating technology in society since the Industrial Revolution. Often through litigation and litigation-generated scientific and social debates, issues of potential hazards of industrial procedures and products become known and addressed. In Taiwan, the ongoing RCA cancer litigation is one of the very rare science-intensive toxic tort cases to date. The Taiwanese court has few precedences to follow regarding handling of scientific expert testimonies. In the U.S. courts, however, a series of heated debates on such issues have been ongoing since the 1993 Supreme Court ruling of Daubert v. Merrell Dow. The so-called “Daubert Standard” produced through three consecutive rulings have since been a focus of a multifaceted debate involving actors in a myriad of fields and positions.

The Daubert Standard stipulates that the trial judge should act as “gatekeeper” to ensure only relevant and reliable expert witness and testimonies reach the court, so that the jury who represents the general public will not be misled by “junk science.” Application of the Daubert Standard has resulted in drastic reduction of toxic tort cases. It is acclaimed by the industry and some lawyers, but widely and fiercely criticized by many scientists, philosophers, and other professionals. This article examines the background, context, and preliminary implications of the rise of Daubert Standard as a case of “boundary work,” and introduces critiques from English-language STS and philosophical scholarship. Alternative causality standards are discussed in comparison to Daubert, such as the “epidemiological principles” used in Japanese pollution trials and the “precautionary principles” used in recent EU industrial chemical regulations. Finally, this article argues that science-intensive litigations in Taiwan such as the RCA hold strategic importance both for STS research and for wider understanding of science and society.

Citation: 
《科技、醫療與社會》,第12期,頁2011年4月出版