n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Enkele relevante aspekte ten opsigte van risiko's waar maatskappye aanspreeklik is vir omgewingsbenadeling

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



With regard to environmental harm and the liability for damages caused thereby, various risks emerge. The first risk is liability itself, and, for any person or entity that operates a business where the environment is to some extent involved, it is essential to know exactly who is or will be liable in a specific instance. In the second place there is the risk that company structures are used to escape liability. Thirdly, it may happen that the damage only materialises years after the harmful activity began or after it has already been completed and the company responsible no longer exists. Fourthly, there is the risk of insolvency of the person or entity responsible for the damage. Another risk is the actual liquidation of the company liable for the environmental harm. During the past fifteen years the pressure on individuals, companies and other entities regarding the protection of the environment has increased dramatically, while it is common knowledge that the incidence of sequestrations and liquidations in recent years has skyrocketed. In this broad context, it is highly relevant to ask who in the end is responsible for the costs relating to environmental protection and the harm caused to the environment by the activities of an insolvent company. Neither environmental legislation nor other legislation such as the insolvency legislation is very helpful in this regard. In the current pre-investigation there will be a brief reference to the first of the four above-mentioned risks, mainly to serve as overview and introduction to the ultimate goal of the following article: namely, an investigation into the situation in liquidation due to insolvency of a company that is or was involved in activities causing environmental harm.

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