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8. The Precautionary Principle And The Burden Of Proof

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Chapter Summary

Having studied the precautionary model with its assumption of harmfulness and associated designation of the burden of proof, as well as its rationale and its criticism, it is time to find out how this model relates to the precautionary principle in public international law. In other words, in principle it is for the state exercising the right to take precautionary action, respectively the state challenging a lack of precautionary action on the part of another state, to demonstrate the presence of reasonable grounds for concern that significant, respectively serious and/or irreversible harm, may be caused. The effective and proportional action that may or must be taken by states when relevant thresholds are crossed can, and often does, take the form of a ban or restriction which is not lifted until the proponents of the activity in question deliver evidence that it would be responsible to do so.

Keywords: burden of proof; precautionary principle



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