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Growing Corporate Environmental Debt

October 2010 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources. Legal Developments by Delphi.

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The environmental code, when introduced in 1999, increased corporate liability for cleaning up contamination. In the first place, the person who operated or operates the contaminating business is responsible for the clean up.

The legislator opted to make liability for the business operator retroactive from 1969, provided the pollution was ongoing during 1999 – despite a unanimous law commission advising against making such a controversial law retroactive. It has even been claimed that imposing retroactive liability is in contravention of the Swedish constitution. The Environmental Court of Appeal has construed the extent of the liability to remedy contamination in a number of judgments. The case law that has developed is going further than the statute would suggest.


Delphi has expert knowledge in all areas of commercial law. An important part is Corporate Finance, with a large amount of domestic and cross border mergers & acquisitions and an extensive Banking, Finance and Capital Markets practice. The firm has also distinguished itself particularly within high-technology oriented legal areas such as IT, Telecommunications, Intellectual Property and Life Science.