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Miljöbrott, myndighet och marknad: En studie om miljöstraffrätt och allmänprevention
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Environmental crime, control agencies and the market : A study of environmental penal law and general prevention (English)
Abstract [en]

Penal law has long been of central interest to the political debate on environmental regulation. The objective of this dissertation is to examine the role of penal law as a means of controlling environmentally hazardous economic activities. The focus of the work is directed at the general preventive effects of the threat of penal sanctioning.

The role of penal law is studied by means of a questionnaire distributed to super¬visory agencies, police and prosecutors in 1999, and by means of interviews conducted in 2002 with representatives from both public and private sector organisations. An additional analysis has been carried out of material collected by means of a questionnaire distri¬buted by the Prosecutor-General to supervisory agencies and public prosecutors’ offices in 1998, and another distributed by the National Police Board to police authorities also in 1998.

Supervisory agencies constitute the first link in the judicial chain associated with the prose¬cution of environmental crime. These agencies’ resource levels, combined with the num¬ber of organisations they have to inspect, their working practices and their ambiguous role vis-à-vis these organisations, may produce a situation where the likelihood of uncovering envi¬ronmen¬tal offences is small and where the propensity to report such offences is negatively affected.

The officials working at the agencies in the study felt that police and prosecutors constituted the weakest links in relation to the likelihood that environmental offences would be sanctioned. A large proportion of the problems experienced by police and prosecutors may be understood as a result of the unique character of this particular area. These crimes are often technically complex, both as regards the offences themselves, the legislation and also the question of responsibility. This is related to a need for relevant expertise at the investigating agencies.

Despite the risk of discovery associated with environmental crime being deemed to be low, and the sanctions awarded often being deemed very lenient, those interviewed felt that envi¬ron¬mental offending could not pay over the longer term. The attitudes expressed by the inter¬viewees can be understood on the basis of a control theoretical perspective. The study con¬cludes that environmental penal law probably has the greatest deterrent effect on those organi¬sations that have most to lose in terms of investments in their good name, in relation to envi¬ro¬n¬mental protection for example. Further, it appears that the more dependant an organisation is on other actors with conven¬tional values, such as collaborative partners, public sector agen¬cies or employees, the less likely it will be to risk its reputation by committing offences. The costs involved are not in the first instance associated with judicial sanctions, but are rather “punishments” associated with the market. Thus criminal justice system regulation may constitute a judicial core that produces additional social consequences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kriminologiska institutionen , 2004. , 259 p.
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 14
Keyword [en]
Environmental crime, corporate crime, environmental penal law, environmentally hazardous activities, general prevention, control theory, techniques of neutralisation
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-234ISBN: 91-7265-943-2OAI: diva2:191293
Public defence
2004-10-04, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2004-09-13 Created: 2004-09-13 Last updated: 2009-04-06Bibliographically approved

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