Over the last few years the environment has been increasingly the focus of the legislator’s attention with a number of regulations being introduced aimed at preventing the occurrence of environmental damage, which is defined as “any significant and measurable deterioration, either direct or indirect, of a natural resource or its utility” (see art. 300 LD 152/2006 and subsequent amendments and additions).
Moreover, law n. 68/2015 has contributed to its increased criminal-law protection by adding the new title VI/a on crimes against the environment by introducing new and specific criminal offences.
In the legal practice, it is frequent to challenge environmental criminal offences even in the corporate sphere, by involving prominent figures or even the very legal entity, since certain criminal offences may imply the administrative liability of entities (see art. 25 (11) LD. n. 231/2001).
For years the firm has offered its legal advocacy for the criminal defence of top management in many high-profile cases including the Petrolchimico-Porto Marghera trial, whose records have been made public on the www.petrolchimico.it site with the permission of both the Court of Venice and the Court of Appeal of Venice.
The firm has also taken on important defensive roles in the trials concerning the Bussi sul Tirino, Spinetta Marengo and Crotone industrial plants as to the disputes arising from environmental pollution and groundwater contamination. The firm is currently involved in the Taranto steel plant trial.
In addition, the Firm deals with criminal issues arising from the management of renewable energy facilities such as wind farms, hydroelectric power plants and waste-to-energy plants.
The firm often has to tackle and look into extraordinarily complex problems, whether it be the difficulty in laying bare the alleged causes of contamination, the need to analyse the development of regulations concerning the protection of environmental matrices, or acquire a deeper knowledge of dangerous substances and the cleaning-up of polluted sites, or even establishing the benchmark for the so-called ‘model agent’ (homo eiusdem professionis et condicionis) within large enterprises.
Likewise, the firm carries out in-depth analyses of environmental crimes through conferences, study groups and publications. In this regard, the reader is referred to the relevant section.