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criminal law

Offences against nature
and environment

Developments in environmental criminal law

Sustainability, environmental protection, and nature conservation are not only important social goals but are also pursued by legislators. Increasingly, administrative offenses and criminal provisions are being used to implement these goals. As a result, environmental criminal law has emerged. Our environment and nature are now comprehensively protected. In addition to provisions in the German Criminal Code (StGB), there are also numerous criminal and administrative offense provisions in secondary legislation.

Offences against the environment

Pollution of:

  • Water, Section 324 German Criminal Code (StGB)
  • Air, Section 325 German Criminal Code (StGB)
  • Soil, Section 324a German Criminal Code (StGB)

Acts endangering the environment:

  • Unauthorised waste management, Section 326 German Criminal Code (StGB)
  • Unauthorised operation of facilities, Section 327 German Criminal Code (StGB)
  • Unauthorised handling of radioactive substances and other hazardous substances and goods, Section 328 German Criminal Code (StGB)

Environmental offences in secondary legislation

In secondary criminal law, administrative offences and penal provisions are primarily regulated in the Federal Nature Conservation Act, the Chemicals Act, the Plant Protection Act and the Hazardous Substances Ordinance. In many cases, those affected were not even aware that their actions had violated a ban and thus committed an environmental offence.

Relevance of environmental criminal law

Every year, German authorities prosecute more than 30,000 environmental offences. Public officials in environmental authorities are at high risk of liability. However, companies are also increasingly committing offences against nature. As German criminal law does not yet recognise criminal liability for the company itself, breaches of regulations in companies lead to personal liability and criminal responsibility for managing directors and board members.

Environmental criminal law as criminal law of endangerment

A special feature of environmental criminal law is that it is predominantly an abstract offence of endangerment. Success in the form of actual damage or concrete endangerment of the environment is not a prerequisite. The threshold for criminal liability is therefore crossed more quickly than you might think. You should therefore not hesitate and consult a lawyer immediately. As an experienced criminal defence lawyer and specialist in environmental criminal law, I will be happy to assist you.

Sandra Korzenski

Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Rechtsanwältin Sandra Korzenski Fachanwältin für Strafrecht und Dozentin

Lawyer for criminal law • Criminal Defense Lawyer • Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Sandra Korzenski
Lawyer & Lecturer
Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Nürnberger Straße 16
10789 Berlin
(at KaDeWe)