Tag Archives: Sentencing

How Thoroughly do UK Businesses Need to Investigate What Happens to Their Waste After They Have Transferred It?

A recent prosecution by the Environment Agency, where a company was ordered to pay £327,000, has highlighted potentially difficult issues for businesses in complying with the statutory waste duty of care. What is the Statutory Waste Duty of Care? All businesses generate waste of some description: from paper and kitchen waste in offices, to hazardous … Continue Reading

Left In The Lurch – Another UK Landlord Convicted Following Tenant’s Unlawful Waste Operations

Recent caselaw demonstrates that regulators are prepared to prosecute landlords as a direct result of their tenants’ unlawful waste operations. Landlords should consider this possibility when negotiating with prospective tenants and put in place reasonable safeguards to protect themselves. However, victims of fly-tipping may potentially face a similar risk of prosecution against which such safeguards … Continue Reading

Piercing the Corporate Veil Following Breaches of UK Environmental Permits

The recent Court of Appeal decision in R v Powell and Westwood contains an interesting insight into the extent to which company directors may find themselves personally liable for the cost of remediating contamination which has been caused or knowingly permitted by the companies that they control. It has confirmed that the corporate veil should … Continue Reading

Record Fine Imposed For UK Water Pollution Offence – Prevention Less Costly Than Cure?

The record fine of £1m recently handed down to Thames Water Utilities Limited is further evidence (if any were needed) that the Courts are willing impose extremely tough penalties on very large organisations found to have breached environmental regulations. Background Thames Water has an environmental permit to discharge treated sewage from Tring Sewage Treatment Works into … Continue Reading

New Allocation Guidelines in England and Wales Effective 1 March 2016

As England and Wales gear up for the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences coming into force on 1 February 2016 – which will drastically change the way health and safety offences are sentenced – companies should also be aware of a new, related legislative development.  On 10 December 2015, a new Allocation Definitive Guideline was published that will affect … Continue Reading

UK Environmental Sentencing Update: Very Large Fines for Very Large Companies

Following a recent Court of Appeal case, very large companies who are involved in cases of serious environmental crime (i.e. cases of Category 1 harm where the cause is deliberate) could face fines of up to 100% of the company’s pre-tax net profits – even if this results in fines of £100+ million. On the … Continue Reading

UK Magistrates’ Courts granted the power to impose unlimited fines

The long awaited Section 85 of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (the “Act”), which removes the fine limits that Magistrates’ Courts can impose for serious offences, came into force on 12 March 2015, meaning that for certain serious offences committed on or after 12 March 2015, the Magistrates Court can … Continue Reading

Higher fines expected in the UK for Health and Safety, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences thanks to new sentencing guidelines

Although sentencing guidelines currently exist in relation to corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences resulting in a death, there are no current guidelines to the UK courts in relation to sentencing non-fatal health and safety offences or food safety offences. The guidelines, produced by the Sentencing Council (SC), are intended to fill that gap … Continue Reading

Increased and Unlimited Fines In The UK Magistrates’ Court: The Realm Of The Speeding Motorist?

It has been widely reported in the UK that maximum fines available to magistrates will soon increase fourfold; and that the lower courts will also be able to levy unlimited fines for some offences in England and Wales. The greatest attention in the popular press has probably been on the impact these powers will have … Continue Reading

UK Sentencing Council Definitive Guidelines for Environmental Offences – The Shape of Things to Come?

The recent decision in R v Southern Water Services Limited (2014) has seen the Court of Appeal take a very firm stance against a utilities provider, upholding a fine of £200,000 following a conviction under regulation 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (the ‘2010 Regulations’) for discharging untreated sewage into the … Continue Reading

UK Sentencing Guidance For Environmental Crime – A Qualified Welcome

There has long been a concern about the lack of guidance available to the courts in the UK (especially, magistrates’ courts) when it comes to sentencing for environmental offences, in comparison to other crimes (such as theft or assault).  This has meant that similar examples of environmental wrongdoing have received greatly varying levels of fines … Continue Reading
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