Breach of Environmental Laws
Criminal lawyers at Taylor Law can assist if you’ve been arrested, the Police want to talk to you or you’re due in Court.
Why Taylor Law?
Breaching environmental rules can cause substantial disruption to businesses, with regulators having the power to close organisations as well as to impose fines and take enforcement action.
Sentences can be substantial, including fines and prison sentences, and during any investigation and subsequent legal case, reputations can be damaged. If you are faced with an environmental investigation, it is advisable to seek advice and representation as soon as possible.
Expert advice and representation
If your organisation is faced with environmental difficulties, it is essential to deal with them without delay. By addressing problems such as pollution incidents before an investigation begins, you can demonstrate to investigators your willingness to effectively manage a difficult situation.
We can advise you in respect to the best way to proceed if an incident occurs as well as helping you in issues of compliance, including obtaining permits and licences.
If you are being investigated or you have been charged with an offence, we can represent you throughout to ensure that your rights and interested are protected. We will attend any interviews under caution with you and if you are charged, we will prepare a strong case in your defence.
Environmental investigations and prosecution
Both the Environment Agency and local authorities have the powers to investigate and prosecute breaches of environmental law. The rules are complex and relate to compliance as well as incidents of environmental damage. Breaches of the rules can happen inadvertently, however liability is strict and you may find yourself facing charges even if you were not aware of any wrongdoing.
We are experienced in representing clients across a wide range of environmental issues, including the following:
- Not having the correct environmental permit in place
- Not complying with the terms of an environmental permit
- Unauthorised disposal of waste
- Improper disposal of dangerous substances
- Land contamination
- Illegal discharge
- Failing to obtain authority to act as a waste carrier
- Failing to comply with notices or sanctions
Penalties for environment offences
Breach of environmental law is usually a criminal offence although civil sanctions also exist. If environmental law is breached by a business, then it may be closed until matters have been rectified. Failure to comply with a stop notice is a criminal offence.
The Magistrates’ court may impose a fine of up to £50,000 and/or six months in prison. In the Crown Court, this increases to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
Civil penalties include fixed fines and enforcement notices. The court also has the option to make other orders alongside these sanctions, including disqualifying a director, an order for recovery of assets where there has been a financial benefit from an environmental crime and issuing a serious crime prevention order.
Environment difficulties can be extremely damaging for a business. As well as damage to its reputation, the value of an organisation will be affected and it may be hard to sell or attract investment in the future if the situation is not properly managed.
It is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible once it becomes apparent that an environmental investigation is under way.
At Taylor Law we have an excellent track record of success in working with clients in respect of environmental matters, with expert civil and criminal defence solicitors in Leeds, Middlesbrough and London who can step in immediately to advise and represent you.
For an initial discussion, ring us on 0113 532 8100 (Leeds), 01642 221 108 (Middlesbrough) or 0203 780 7646 (London) or fill in our Contact Form.
View Cost Details
This work is carried out by:
Scott Taylor – Director of Taylor Law – Supervisor
Mark Lake – Senior Solicitor
Imogen Cox – Senior Solicitor
Ben Tighe – Solicitor
Our current hourly rates are £201 plus VAT per hour, with routine letters/telephone calls/emails (less than 6 minutes) costing £20.10 plus VAT. We shall be able to give you a more accurate costs estimate once we have seen you and are able to establish how complicated your case is. There are also likely to be disbursements to pay. These are costs associated with your matter paid to third parties such as expert fees, travel costs, copying charges etc. These will depend on your individual case.
Due to the experience of our criminal solicitors (both of whom are ex-duty solicitors), unlike many firms that deal with motoring offences, we do not routinely instruct barristers to attend court on your behalf, thus minimising costs.
In some cases, we are able to offer fixed fee representation. However, this depends upon various factors, such as the likely plea, how long any trial will take and the factual/ legal complexity of the case.
Usually, a guilty plea to a simple matter, at a court local to one of our offices, can be dealt with by way of a fixed fee. If we are required to travel to a court in a different town or city, if the case is likely to be lengthy or will involve complex factual disputes or legal points, then the fixed fee will be higher.
In some cases, for instance where a not guilty plea is intended, or where the precise amount of work required cannot be accurately estimated or is unusually complex, then we are likely to deal with your matter by way of an hourly rate. Not guilty plea cases, which result in trials, are likely to start from £2,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
Our guideline fixed fees, based on attendances at local courts, are as follows:
Guilty pleas (requiring a single attendance at court) – from £800 plus VAT*
(*Additional attendances, for instance following an adjournment, are charged at £400 plus VAT)
Please note that the above fees relate solely to Magistrates’ Court cases. Appeals against sentence
or conviction, or privately funded Crown Court matters, can only be quoted upon a full assessment
of the case papers.
The typical key stages of dealing with a motoring case are as follows:
In guilty plea cases:
– Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers, advising on plea and likely sentence and, in not guilty cases, the likely issues for trial;
– Attending the Magistrates’ Court for the first appearance; dealing with plea and sentence.
In not guilty plea cases, as above, plus:
– Dealing with case management at the first court appearance;
– Taking a proof of evidence from you, taking statements from witnesses, instructing experts, drafting statements;
– Considering further evidence served by the prosecution and taking your instructions on it;
– Considering unused material;
– Drafting legal arguments (in complex cases)
– Preparation for and attendance at trial.
– The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the costs will be reduced.
As to timescales, for guilty pleas, cases typically conclude on the same day as the first appearance. In not guilty cases, it usually takes between 2 to 3 months to conclude, although if the trial is vacated and re-fixed for any reason, then it may take around 4 to 6 months.
“I used Scott Taylor to represent me when I sued the Police and Successfully won my case. I felt confident going to court as Scott walked me through everything and engaged an amazing barrister on my behalf. It took a while to get there but by god did we get there. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Scott again he knows what he is doing and supports you at all stages.”
Valerie Ann Cadman-Khan