The landmark judgment delivered by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice in Case C–176/03 Commission v Council (Environmental Crimes) was significant both constitutionally and for the protection of the environment through criminal law. There was a conflict of competence between the European Community Treaty and the Third Pillar of the Treaty on European Union, namely Police and Cooperation in Criminal Matters. The case resulted in Community competence to require criminal measures for serious environmental offences where necessary for the effective enforcement of environmental rules.
Eleven intervening Member States supported the Council’s choice of the Third Pillar as the legal basis for a Framework Decision, showing the strength of resilience against resort to the Community method with its institutional powers of enforcement; preliminary ruling and codecision.
This work examines the impact of the Court’s ruling in Environmental Crimes. Case C–440/05 Commission v Council (Ship Source Pollution) will also be evaluated to see whether legal certainty emerges as to the scope and extent of criminal law competence under the Treaties establishing the European Community and Union.
The current legal regime will be treated as will that, potentially under the Treaty of Lisbon.European Energy and Environmental Law Review