Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 703–723 | Cite as

Sanctioning of environmental crime in the European Union: The case of Flanders, Belgium

  • Carole M. Billiet
  • Dietrich Earnhart
  • Sandra RousseauEmail author


The development of the criminal sanctioning track in the EU is a prominent policy issue. Studies of the actual use of criminal sanctions in the member states are very important since the gap between the law and practice can be very wide. Policy makers and law enforcers are confronted with a lack of empirical data on the actual use of criminal law to sanction environmental offenses. In this paper, we use information stored in the Environmental LawForce database, which is a database of environmental sanctioning by criminal courts in Flanders, Belgium. The study distinguishes three types of offenders: companies, individuals prosecuted for acts committed as part of their professional activities, and individuals prosecuted for acts committed as part of their private lives. Based on previous theoretical insights, we investigate when we expect the environmental sanctions to be similar or different across the three groups of offenders. In particular, we assess the differences and similarities across the sanctioning of environmental offenses committed by companies, professional individuals and private individuals in Flanders.

JEL Classifications

K32 Environmental, health and safety law K41 Litigation process K42 Illegal behavior and the enforcement of law 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Environmental and Energy LawUniversiteit GentGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Economics & BusinessKU LeuvenBrusselBelgium

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