Gaetano Silvestri

Scienza e coscienza: due premesse per l'indipendenza del giudice

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The work tackles the question of the crisis of certainties that assails science as a whole and legal theory in particular, placing judges before dilemmas that 'must' be resolved because they are the ones who have been assigned the task of looking after the public interest. Faced with the complexity of the issues posed by the advancement of science, including in biotechnology, the uncertainty and contradictory nature of technical/scientific verifications concerning facts of individual and collective interest, and the difficulty of unravelling difficult controversies that call for a high degree of specialisation, a judge might be tempted to not judge. And yet, he (or she) 'must' in every case provide an answer in terms of justice. The system of impugnment, the control over the uniform interpretation of the law exercised by the Court of Cassation, the integration of the Constitution and normative system ensured by the Constitutional Court, and disciplinary justice's function of providing a general guarantee form the basis for a context where the subjective combination of science and conscience do not get transformed into a matter of individual preference. The foregoing certainly cannot completely eliminate the danger. However, the prevailing of an 'official' judicial truth and the formation of a pyramid of conformist judges would present an even greater risk.

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