22nd March 2013

Could harsher sentences be on the way for environmental offences?

The Sentencing Guidelines Council, the organisation that advises courts on sentencing, has announced today that it is reviewing the way in which businesses and individuals are sentenced for environmental offices like fly tipping in order to come up with clear guidelines for the courts.

The Council is proposing to introduce a formulaic and structured approach which will see three bands of fines for businesses based on the size of the organisation and the seriousness of the offence. The fines could range from a few hundred pounds to up to £2m.

For individuals, it could mean prison sentences of up to 3 years for the more serious offences.

According to Andrew Brammer, a regulatory defence solicitor at leading Midlands law firm Cartwright King, any effort to develop clarity in this difficult area should be commended, but he warns,

“This is another example of the increasing significance of criminal regulatory offending which could result in more stringent enforcement and more businesses and individuals facing criminal prosecutions.”

The consultation runs until 6 June 2013 and any interested party can find out more information at the Sentencing Guidelines Council website.

For further information please get in touch with our dedicated team.

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