Corporate liability for environmental offences requiring intention
Corporate liability for environmental offences requiring intention

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Corporate liability for environmental offences requiring intention
  • What environmental offences require mens rea?
  • Attributed intention
  • Identifying the 'directing mind'
  • Directors' and officers' liability

What environmental offences require mens rea?

While most environmental offences are characterised by strict liability, a limited category require an element of mens rea (eg intention or recklessness). Examples are:

  1. knowingly or recklessly making a statement which is false or misleading under the environmental permitting regime

  2. intentionally make a false entry in a record required to be kept under an environmental permit condition

  3. intending to deceive by:

    (i)     forging or using a document issued or authorised to be issued or required for any purpose under an environmental permit condition, or

    (ii)     making or possessing a document so closely resembling such a document as to be likely to deceive

  4. intentionally or recklessly making a false or misleading statement under REACH

  5. knowingly or recklessly making materially false statements, eg in support of an application under the Water Resources Act 1991 (WRA 1991)

  6. intentionally making a false entry in any record required to be kept by virtue of a consent under the WRA 1991

Attributed intention

A company is capable of acting only by its agents. Consequently,