We regularly advise directors, companies, business owners and officers who are involved in external investigations and prosecutions, related to environmental crime, brought by Commonwealth and stage agencies.

Environmental Crime Lawyers in NSW

Our Criminal Law Team can assist you with matters related to environmental crime, we have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

We’ve been defending the people of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and the Hunter region since 1969 and have helped our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes in all Criminal Law matters.

We are used to dealing with the Police, and know all the ‘ins and outs’ of the Courts and Justice system.

If you have been charged with an environmental crime, contact our Criminal Law Team today to book a teleconference or appointment. We’ll fight vigorously to protect your freedom and rights.

What is environmental crime?

An environmental offence is any act that deliberately or carelessly harms the environment and breaks any related environmental laws.

These offences have become more common over the last two decades as a result of the Government placing more legal obligations on businesses and individuals to minimise and manage the impact of their day-to-day activities on the environment.

These legal obligations are outlined in both state and Commonwealth legislation. Some of the relevant acts include:

  • Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986
  • Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
  • Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports & Imports) Act 1989
  • Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution From Ships) Act 1983
  • Fisheries Management Act 1991
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976
  • Quarantine Act 1908

Under these laws (above), various public and private bodies can commence civil and criminal proceedings against corporations and individuals for breaches of environmental law.

Environmental crime relates to any acts that have an impact on:

  • Threatened Species & Ecological Communities
  • National & World Heritage Places
  • Commonwealth Marine Areas & Wetlands of International Importance
  • Migratory Species
  • Nuclear Actions (Including Uranium Mining)

The Land and Environment Court of NSW (LEC) is a specialist environmental and planning Court. It has a jurisdiction across the state and is directly responsible for interpreting and enforcing all relevant environmental laws. This includes all building and planning disputes.

What are the penalties for environmental crime?

The Court has significant sentencing powers that include fines in excess of $1 million for corporations, compulsory remediation works and even imprisonment.

There are even cases of company Directors and members of senior management being held personally responsible for environmental crimes they committed on behalf of their corporations.

If you have been charged with an environmental offence, the matter goes to Court and you are found guilty, it is likely that you’ll be ordered to pay the prosecutor’s investigation and legal costs. These costs, together with your own legal costs, will likely be in the tens of thousands… which is why it’s very important to seek proper legal advice from an experienced legal professional who has a background in environmental law.

What are examples of environmental crime?

Common examples of environmental crime include:

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