chapter
4 Pages

Introduction

ByToine Spapens, Rob White

This chapter addresses the kind of court which is best suited to dealing with environmental crime. The overall aim of criminal law is to prevent certain kinds of behaviour regarded as harmful or potentially harmful. Within a green criminology perspective, there are three broad conceptualisations of harm: with variable focus on humans, environments and animals. Justice within an eco-justice perspective is initially framed in terms of the subject or victim that is liable to be harmed. Research into US legal systems has demonstrated that environmental criminal statutes and environmental sentencing guidelines represent the different ways of defining and assessing the harm addressed by environmental crimes. In contrast, US federal environmental crime sentencing guidelines focus more on matters of actual harm rather than risk reduction concerns. A problem-solving court has the potential to expand the boundaries of 'good practice' in resolving conflicts over environmental matters.