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As well as an SME being potentially liable for environmental offences, individual directors can be personally liable in relation to environmental law. This is not limited to directors – other company officers and employees can potentially be liable if an offence is committed by the company with their consent or connivance, or is considered to be due to their neglect.

What Will Happen?

Environmental matters are becoming ever more important for businesses, including SMEs. Certain directors can be directly responsible for the environmental issues at a company, particularly in the SME space where layers of environmental management is unlikely.

Following an environmental incident, the Environment Agency or the Local Authority will conduct an investigation against the company. The regulator usually considers personal liability in matters where they can clearly highlight the corporate liability. The individual may be invited to an interview under caution, can be arrested and may even be party on the summons of indictment.

A prosecution can result in a criminal record, a Directors’ disqualification and in the worst cases, prison.

How Can We Help?

We can provide bespoke training to directors on the extent of their environmental liabilities. This may be short training, which can be done cost-effectively and efficiently. Training at this early stage will, if followed, be a very strong mitigation should any environmental offence later be committed.

Should an investigation be commenced, we can advise directors in relation to their position. We can clearly indicate the client’s position to the regulator.

We have an excellent track record in representing individuals involved in senior management, in relation to large scale investigations and have successfully defended many cases where an individual was prosecuted in addition to the company.

Who Should You Contact?

For any further advice in relation to directors’ personal liability, please contact us on 0370 1500 100 or get in touch online.


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