The protection of the environment is a major community concern. Legislation designed to achieve this aim is complex, because it must balance the interests of numerous parties. A failure to comply with the legislation can lead to penalties of $1,100,000 for corporations or $250,000 and seven years jail for individuals.
Increasingly, directors are made liable for acts of their corporations, and sometimes financiers and lenders can also be at risk by being forced to pay for site remediation work on mortgaged property, especially ‘orphaned sites’.
We have two of the very few Law Society Accredited Specialists in Local Government and Planning Law in the state. Our experience in environmental law equips us to advise directors and companies about their liabilities under the relevant environmental laws. Specifically, we assist in the legal audit of a company’s environments risks (which involves liaison with other relevant experts), advise present occupiers of sites of their rights and liabilities when they are served with clean-up notices (under legislation such as the Environmental Hazardous Chemical Act and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act), or give preliminary advice to prosecutors and defendants prior to charges being laid.
If legal action is taken, Coutts represents defendants charged with breaches of an environmental protection law, advises clients on their rights of appeal and conduct such appeals against decisions of authorities to renew or grant licences.
Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers have Accredited Specialists in Local Government & Planning Law