Artigo em revista científica Q1
Uncertain risk assessment and management: case studies of the application of the precautionary principle in Portugal
Vasco Gonçalves (Gonçalves, V.);
Título Revista
Risk Analysis
Ano (publicação definitiva)
Estados Unidos da América
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This study intends to clarify how the precautionary principle (PP) has been interpreted and applied by the courts in Portugal in the analysis of conflicts associated with uncertain and serious potential risks to human health and the environment. It also aims to contribute to the debate of when and how to apply precautionary measures. To this end, recent court cases in the areas of waste incineration, high-voltage power lines, as well as dam and wind farm construction were considered. The degree of consistency in the courts’ decisions and their reasons in the different judicial bodies was analyzed with the support of a theoretical framework based on three attributes: the level of seriousness of potential hazards, level of evidence required, and the severity of precautionary actions taken. Different positions among courts were observed, with contradictory arguments in the same case or in similar cases. A greater propensity for favorable decisions in the acceptance of restraining orders was verified in the courts of lower instances, where human health could be threatened. However, the decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court, which were always unfavorable to the restraining orders, seem to reflect the priority given to national economic and political interests over local or regional environmental interests. They may also reflect the Supreme Court’s reluctancy to apply the PP in the absence of a firm legally binding PP in national legislation. To address this situation, more explicit legal requirements and criteria for the analysis of uncertain risks and the weighting of interests by area of activity are needed
Assessment and management of human health and environmental risks,Judicial cases,Precautionary principle
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