Environmental Law Hong Kong

Environmental Law in Hong Kong

HK Lawyer AJ Halkes successfully defended Contractors, Joint Venture Participants, Food & Beverage and Hotel operators and the like prosecuted for breaches of standards and controls in respect of water pollution, unlawful discharges, air pollution, marine dumping, noise and other regulated activities, permit-related issues and controls; such as pests and mosquitos. With over 3 decades in the field, Adrian has developed a deep understanding of environmental regulations and policies and has successfully navigated complex environmental issues for his clients.

Prosecution by the Environmental Protection Department, the Fire Services and other regulators in the HKSAR such as the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department can have a severe economic adverse impact in the event any infringements are proven. Criminal prosecutions normally follow any adverse event discovered or at the very least administrate penalties; including closure periods can often be defended.

Before considering entering any type of plea of guilt or making admissions in relation to any allegations of noncompliance it is critical to obtain the facts and the correct advice. AJ Halkes always considers the economic impact of any decisions to be made along with the law as applied to the facts.

Giving full thought to the advantages of contesting allegations (or not), or in the event that they are unreliable or incorrectly founded on the evidence gathered; attempting to provide the prosecution with a reason not to continue to trial, are all commercial decisions that need to be made.

Environmental Law

Whether you need assistance with compliance or any other aspect of environmental law, Adrian has the expertise and experience to help.

Notable Cases

Successfully appealed a conviction, and established by way of Appeal the correct criteria for evaluating offences by construction companies related to “mosquito breeding” on construction sites.

Successfully defended a company accused of water pollution before the Court of Appeal reversing a lower decision of the magistrates courts in respect of a crucial matter of the manner in which site discharges are to be evaluated, sampled and subsequently controlled.

Landfill – Discharging polluted matter into the waters of Hong Kong

Successfully defended an industrial waste landfill operator in Environmental Protection Department prosecutions brought under sections 9 and 11 of the Water Pollution Control Ordinance, alleging the operator had discharged not unpolluted water into a communal drain in a water control zone.  The Court found that the Prosecution had failed to prove the existence of discharges of not unpolluted water into a communal drain since the so-called water “samples” which were taken during an inspection on the material days of the alleged offences were from the wrong sampling locations on the site and not representative of the alleged discharges.

Illegal dumping at sea

Successfully defended a total of 71 summonses in respect of marine dumping outside permitted zones by the effective forensic challenge to evidence, laser focus on the facts and successful cross-examination of an expert witness. 

Successfully defended three contractors participating in a three-way Joint Venture principal contractor in a case prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Department, under the Dumping at Sea Ordinance (Cap 466).  The 71 summonses involved multiple allegations of dumping excavated sediment from a vessel in the sea within the waters of Hong Kong, otherwise than under and in accordance with a permit.  The events were triggered after the dumping operator had executed dumps based on incorrectly entered coordinates, by a third-party contractor, into a “Front End Mobile Unit” installed on the vessel.