Under UK and many other national and international laws, there are two types of environmental liability: criminal and civil.

Criminal liability applies where a person or organisation has broken a law defined in a statute, and where there is a mental and physical element leading to the breach of the law.

This could, for example, include an operator who deliberately disposes of hazardous waste illegally, causing environmental damage.

Civil liability, on the other hand, refers to a case where one person or organisation seeks compensation from another for alleged damage, where a court of law can provide a remedy. Breach of contract would be one example.

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