Tackling environmental crime in the European Union: the case of the missing victim?

Paul James Cardwell, Duncan French, Matthew Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


In 2008, the EU adopted Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through the criminal law, to be implemented in Member States by December 2010. Although the enforcement of environmental legislation by means of the criminal law is by no means novel, it has often played a secondary role to administrative sanctions and civil penalties. This Directive is thus perhaps indicative of a hardening of attitudes over breaches of environmental law. Nevertheless, this article considers the extent to which the response so far to environmental crime (including, but not limited to, the new EU Directive) has neglected the impact of such crime on the victims of that crime. The study of victims has become a key element in modern-day criminology, seeking to ensure broad acknowledgement, and respect, for the rights of victims. But in the case of environmental crime, there remains a noticeable gap. Although there are undoubtedly procedural difficulties in involving environmental victims in the criminal justice system, these are not insurmountable. Indeed there are a number of positive examples of where this is beginning to occur. In addition to a substantive critique of the directive, this article brings together doctrinal legal scholarship and theoretical criminology to address themes that have existed in parallel but have rarely been considered synergistically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Law and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • green criminology
  • environmental legislation
  • law enforcement
  • theoretical study

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