Accepted paper:

Risk and Glocal Rationality in Litigation? Tobacco and Air Pollution Litigation in Korea

Author:

Doogab Yi (Seoul National University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the history of tobacco and air pollution litigation in Korea from a comparative perspective. It pays attention to the role of statistical models and epidemiology, and shows how different conceptions of risk and causality in late modernity led to divergent legal decisions.

Paper long abstract:

In a global world where toxic materials and harmful products are produced and circulated by transnational corporations, those who suffered often entrusted the local/national court with a responsibility to translate science into justice. In this paper I will examine the history of tobacco and air pollution litigation in Korea from a comparative perspective, illuminating the global dynamics in science and law. I in particular aim to explore the role of scientific uncertainty in the fate of air pollution and tobacco litigation in contemporary Korea. It was, however, difficult to establish causal connection between exposure and the alleged harms in the Korean environmental and product liability cases under the framework of tort law conception of causation and responsibility. Science and law was called upon to resolve such 'late modern' legal cases. This paper will situate these Korean environmental and product liability cases in the rise of epidemiology in mass toxic tort litigation in the US, and examine 1) the diverging fate of tobacco litigation in the United States and Korea, and 2) the different fate of air pollution litigation in Japan and Korea. The paper in particular pays attention to the role of statistics and epidemiology in both tobacco and air pollution litigation, and show in what ways different conceptions of risk and causality in late modernity led to divergent legal decisions in each country.

panel T161
The Best Way to Control Toxic Actants: Litigation or Regulation?