The Hampton Report 1 raised a number of issues relating to effective enforcement actions against regulatory offenders in the UK. Among the problems it identified were sanctions that currently are inadequate to take away the economic gains realised by violators, courts that do not sentence at levels commensurate with the severity of offenses, the weak deterrent effect of low penalties, and the slowness of the enforcement system. A focus of the report was the regulators’ need for a better set of tools with which to deal with violators. The Regulatory Justice 2005 document 2 substantially sharpened that focus upon enforcement issues, laying the groundwork for possible major changes in the UK regulatory enforcement system.

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This article, based upon three decades-plus of empirical experience with federal environmental enforcement in the United States, discusses that experience as it may relate to post-Hampton Report undertakings in England and Wales. The three-tiered federal environmental...

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