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New enforcement and sanctioning powers for environment and health and safety regulation

Mar 28, 2008

Further information

A new law which will provide a significantly expanded enforcement toolkit for regulators to deal with environmental and health and safety wrongdoing is in the spotlight next week (April 3rd 6-8pm)

The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill is nearing the end of its passage through the House of Lords before entering the Commons. It’s the subject of a timely seminar being held by the UK Environmental Law Association and the Health and Safety Lawyers Association.

If enacted the Bill will give regulators, like the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive, access to a much wider range of enforcement options. Instead of being subject to criminal prosecution as the only enforcement option, those responsible for breaches of environmental or health and safety law could instead be faced with fines (a fixed amount or an amount determined by the regulator). Similar systems in the USA have seen some operators facing fines or penalties of millions of dollars. Operators may also have the option of entering into voluntary agreements to address non-compliance issues.

In the UK the current system has been criticised for making it sometimes cheaper to commit an offence and pay the fine, than comply with the law.

The new law also introduces a tribunal system to review penalties, rather than the ordinary courts, which some have welcomed as introducing more specialised expertise into the justice system.

The seminar is chaired by Lord Justice Carnwath, senior President of tribunals, and the main speaker is Professor Richard Macrory who proposed the reforms which led to the Bill.

Notes to the editors:

1. The seminar is being held at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London, EC4. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Alison Boyd 01306 500090, alisonboyd.ukela@ntlbusiness.com. Members of the press are welcome to attend.

2. UKELA is the UK forum which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union. It attracts both lawyers and non lawyers and has a broad membership.

3. The Health and Safety Lawyers Association is a national organisation aimed at practitioners and academic lawyers who have an interest in an area of law that is rapidly increasing in scope and importance.

UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

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