Environmental offences

An environmental crime can be either a deliberate or careless act that harms the environment and breaks current laws.

The Land and Environment Court of New South Wales is a specialist environmental and planning court with a wide jurisdiction responsible for interpreting and enforcing environmental law in the state of New South Wales.

Proceedings in the Land and Environment Court fall into three general categories, which reflect the mixed jurisdiction of the Court:

  • Administrative or merits review, where the Court re-hears the merits of an administrative decision by the original decision maker.
  • Enforcement of environmental and planning legislation. This can be done by:

Civil enforcement – proceedings commenced by government authorities to remedy or restrain breaches of planning and environmental laws (Class 4);

Judicial review – proceedings lodged by individuals or companies for judicial review of administrative decisions under planning or environmental laws (Class 4); or,

Criminal enforcement – proceedings for offences that are brought against an individual or a company, whether from a breach of threatened breach of environmental laws (Class 5).

  • Appeal proceedings

The Land and Environment Court also hears appeals against convictions or sentences for environmental offences from the Local Court (in Classes 6 & 7), and appeals from decisions of commissioners of the Court under s56A of the Court Act.

Under the Court Act disputes are categorised into 8 classes:

Class 1 – Environmental planning and protection appeals

Class 2 – Local Government miscellaneous appeals and applications; and tree dispute applications

Class 3 – Land tenure, valuation, rating and compensation matters

Class 4 – Environmental planning and protection

Class 5 – Environmental Planning and Protection – Criminal Enforcement

Class 6 – Appeals with respect to environmental offences

Class 7 – Applications for leave to appeal with respect to environmental offences

Class 8 – Mining Jurisdiction

William Vahl of North Shore Criminal Law has had a number of successful landmark cases in the Land and Environment Court.

William Vahl of North Shore Criminal Law regularly appears in these local courts.

If you have been charged with an offence, or are seeking further information on a Criminal or Traffic legal matter, call

North Shore Criminal Law on (02) 9955 2298 or our 24 hour Emergency Service on 0400 44 64 24.