When Risk Management Systems ‘Fail’: On Criminal Negligence and the Limits of Scientists’ Responsibility

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1 Cita (Scopus)


This chapter consists of a brief discussion on some legal aspects concerning scientists’ responsibility in risk prevention processes. After proposing some introductory considerations on scientists’ responsibility as such, the author deals with the L’Aquila earthquake crisis of 2009, when a strong quake destroyed significant parts of L’Aquila (Italy) and surrounding villages, killing more than 300 people. The chapter focuses on the relations between scientific knowledge, normative expectations, decision-making and criminal negligence for ‘failed’ risk assessment and management, paying particular attention to the role of ‘regulatory science’ in constructing the ‘reasonable person’ normative standard of care in the theory of criminal negligence. This allows explaining why the first judgement in the L’Aquila trial (2012) is not convincing, having misunderstood how policy-relevant science should participate in prevention processes and the construction of normative standards. In his conclusions, the author suggests some reasons for the recent tendency to blame experts when natural or technological disasters occur.

Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
EditorialSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Número de páginas15
EstadoPublicada - 2019

Serie de la publicación

NombreInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
ISSN (versión impresa)1875-0044
ISSN (versión digital)1875-0036

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Ingeniería biomédica
  • Sistemas de información
  • Administración pública
  • Investigación sobre seguridad


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