European Journal of Law Reform


The Use of Evidence in Evidence-Based Legislation

A Reflection

Keywords European Union, evidence, legislation, policy-making
Authors Sebastiaan Princen
Author's information

Sebastiaan Princen
Sebastiaan Princen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, School of Governance, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Abstract

      This article reflects on the contributions to the Special Issue on evidence-based legislation. It argues that both normative questions about how evidence should be used and factual questions about how evidence actually is used in legislation require a reflection on the nature of ‘evidence’ and its role in the crafting and application of legislation. Based on the understanding that the answers to these questions are intimately linked with the ideas, values and interests that underpin legislation, the article explores three specific issues: the burden of evidence in legislation and lawmaking (who needs to produce evidence about what), the criteria for determining what counts as ‘good’ evidence, and the various purposes for which evidence is used in legislation and legislative processes. Reflecting on these issues may help to reach a more balanced and nuanced view on the role of evidence in evidence-based legislation and the ways in which the law and legal analysis can facilitate the fruitful use of evidence.

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