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Environmental criminal law

Criminal law amendments of 1980 and 1994 to the German Criminal Code (StGB) have led to a considerable tightening and extension of numerous criminal provisions on the protection of the environment, which had not existed before or were administrative provisions.

Environmental criminal law includes offences of the StGB, such as


  • water, soil and air pollution in accordance with Sections 324, 325 of the StGB,
  • the cause of noise, vibrations and non-ionizing radiation in accordance with Section 325a of the StGB,
  • the unauthorised handling of waste in accordance with Section 326 of the StGB,
  • the unauthorised operation of plants in accordance with Section 327 of the StGB,
  • the unauthorised handling of radioactive substances and other dangerous substances and goods in accordance with Section 328 of the StGB,
  • the endangerment to vulnerable areas in accordance with Section 329 of the StGB and
  • the serious risk posed by the release of poisons in accordance with Section 330 a of the StGB.


In addition to these provisions, threats of punishment can be found in countless special regulations that sanction water, soil and air pollution, such as Sections 26, 27 of the Chemicals Act (ChemG), Sections 21, 22 of the Hazardous Substances Regulation (GefStoffVO), Sections 71 i.V.m. 69 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) and Sections 68, 69 of the Plant Protection Act (PflSchG).

Environmental criminal law, therefore, poses significant risks of criminal culpability to companies and individuals. In the event of willful or even only negligent violations, the perpetrators face fines or imprisonment whilst companies can not only be fined but additionally profits can be skimmed off. Besides that, allowances and certifications, e.g. as a specialist waste disposal company, can be withdrawn. The scope of the organizational and supervisory obligations depends on the circumstances of the individual case. Since members of the management, in principle, cannot free themselves from criminal responsibility by the delegation of tasks and can also be charged with an organizational error or the breach of supervision, preventive management consulting is essential. The activities in the field of preventive management consulting in environmental criminal matters and criminal defense require experience and highly specialized in-depth knowledge of the legal matter.

Juergen Klengel has extraordinary expertise in environmental criminal law cases, starting with the beginning of his career as public prosecutor. He advises and defends companies, individuals and business partnerships in the event of the violation of rules on emission control, waste disposal, noise prevention as well as core and secondary criminal law.

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