Lewis Ross (LSE): “Statistics, Epistemic Gaps, and Legal Risk”

Many philosophers suggest that using statistics to attribute legal liability is deeply problematic. A primary worry is that it would be unfair to hold the defending party responsible on the basis of probability alone. My previous work, focusing on criminal law, suggests that this refusal to use statistics is double-edged. Now, turning to the civil law, I argue that the demands of fairness requires us to rethink our approach in non-criminal contexts too. In particular, I suggest that relying on statistics can be required to deal with epistemic gaps in the law and distribute risk in a fair way among different groups in society.