“Specialises in contentious matters on behalf of clients, with a particular focus on fatal accident cases and corporate liability matters.”
We advise companies, directors and employees regarding environmental investigations and prosecutions, including in relation to pollution, waste, water and contaminated land.
Penalties for environmental offences are increasing in size following the implementation of the Sentencing Council’s definitive guideline and in line with growing global interest in environmental protection. Very large organisations convicted of environmental offences can expect very large fines. The sentencing guideline provides that high culpability offences by individuals have a sentencing starting point of a term of imprisonment. An organisation’s response to an incident is crucial to the outcome and we provide specialist advice to support clients in navigating this complex and often unfamiliar legal area. BCL has particular expertise in serious, complex and high-profile matters, acting in the largest ever investigation by the Environment Agency.
We advise businesses and individuals across all sectors, including utility companies (with particular experience of wastewater treatment works), waste management companies, recycling facilities, construction firms and oil refineries.
Our strategic, proactive and commercial approach achieves outstanding results. We focus on the best-possible outcome and minimising reputational harm, ensure the minimum of business interruption and recognise the need to maintain a strong ongoing working relationship with regulators.
We provide specialist advice and representation to companies and individuals in areas such as:
- Crisis management.
- Responding to investigations by the Environment Agency, Joint Unit for Waste Crime, Local Authorities, Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), including in relation to pollution incidents (air, land and water), waste regulation, water resources and contaminated land.
- Powers of Environmental Crime Officers, including compelled requests for documentation (under s.108 of the Environment Act 1995 and Regulation 61 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016) and witness interviews.
- Environmental Permits, including in relation to permit conditions, enforcement notices, suspension notices and appeals.
- Legally privileged investigations.
- Requests to attend formal PACE interviews under caution.
- Defending prosecutions of companies and individuals, confiscation of the proceeds of environmental offences and civil sanctions (such as monetary penalty notices and enforcement undertakings).
- The definition of waste, end-of-waste determinations, and defending related enforcement action.
- Greenwashing offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.
- Requests for environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Advising a major utility company in relation to the largest ever investigation undertaken by the Environment Agency.
Advising a fertiliser manufacturer and directors, and an associated business, in relation to an Environment Agency investigation concerning the operation of a suspected ‘illegal waste site’.
Advising regarding an investigation by Ofwat concerning alleged breaches of licence conditions and statutory duties with deliberate misreporting of performance data and circa £100 million in avoided penalties.
Advising a company in the waste sector regarding an Environment Agency investigation concerning environmental permit compliance, including in relation to judicial review.
Advising a company regarding requests for confidential and sensitive investigation materials and other documentation under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.