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Watch out for new environmental enforcement laws

Sep 08, 2014

from the entry by Elizabeth Sivell on Lexology:

The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, introduced to the Legislative Assembly on 12 August, proposes to strengthen NSW environmental enforcement laws, and introduces the concept of ‘restorative justice’ into environmental enforcement.

‘Restorative justice’ is described in the second reading speech for the Bill as a process that: “brings together both an offender and a victim to address the actions that should be undertaken by the offender to repair the harm that has been caused.” In practical terms, the concept of ‘restorative justice’ will allow the court to require environmental offenders to undertake actions that go beyond restoration or enhancement of the environment, to also include social or community actions that benefit the community or persons adversely affected by the offence.

The main changes are:

  • ....A court can order an offender under the CLM Act to pay an additional penalty representing the amount of any monetary benefits acquired by the offender by committing the offence. This is the environmental law equivalent of proceeds of crime legislation, and reflects the restorative justice philosophy underlying the amendments.
  • The Land and Environment Court can order a range of new penalties under the CLM Act, including publicising the offence, carrying out a restoration project, or carrying out an activity for the benefit of the community or persons affected by the offence. The example offered for ‘publicising the offence’ is by a notice to shareholders or in an annual report. It will be interesting to see whether the publicising of offences moves beyond simply the print media, to social media or other relevant forums.

Read the whole entry.

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