The Dual Vulnerability of Transnational, Science-Based Standards in the National Legal Order

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This paper highlights the scientific and political vulnerability of transnational science-based standards. This paper focuses on radiation standards formulated by the decentralised web of expert committees and inter-governmental forums. Transnational science-based standards are beset with scientific fragility, precisely because they provide certain regulatory stability in the scientifically uncertain areas. This scientific fragility is accompanied by political vulnerability. Transnational science-based standards are often formulated without the involvement of those private entities and individuals on whom the standards have visible consequences. This paper exposes the domestic neglect of dual vulnerability by analysing the Japanese stories after Hiroshima–Nagasaki (1945) and Fukushima (2011). While this paper discusses a specific scenario, the issue of dual vulnerability would likely arise in many other science-based standards which are formulated transnationally and absorbed into the domestic legal order on the basis that they are scientifically authoritative with little need for political input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-498
Number of pages29
JournalTransnational Legal Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2017


  • transnational standards
  • science-based regulation
  • radiation
  • domestic law
  • deference


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