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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the tensions that exist between the principles of environmental law and criminal law. It first considers the ways in which environmental law and criminal law are mutually supportive and how they can complement one another by discussing the purpose of criminalization and the modes of interaction between public law and criminal law in relation to the environment. The chapter describes three ways in which criminal law interacts with different forms of the regulatory system: ‘one-step’ criminal offences, ‘two-step’ criminal offences, and ‘three-step’ criminal offences. It also explores the sanction of last resort and enforcement policy and how criminal law can be used as a substitute for environmental standards before concluding with an analysis of the conflicts in the principles of environmental law and criminal law with regards to strict liability, risk-based regulation, questions of interpretation, the harm principle, and moral certainty and symbolism.

Keywords: comparative environmental law, criminal law, environmental harm, criminalization, strict liability

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