A part of the ENVIRONMENTAL LAWFORCE DATABASE is freely available for scientific research and educational purposes. It relates to the criminal sanctioning track only. The data available concern the 1156 judgements with 1882 defendants stored in the database. Use of these data – no matter how – has to be accompanied by a reference to this website and the name ENVIRONMENTAL LAWFORCE DATABASE must always be mentioned as the data source.
The database is hosted by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), which gave crucial technical support in its development. You will find VITO’s webpage offering access to the database here.
The VITO-webpage gives identical background information (General outline, FAQ) as this website, but in Dutch. In its left column, you will see the option ‘start’, which brings you to a screen with the elementary options for data selection: year of decisions, court involved, final decisions made / sanctions imposed, the legislation breached and the type of pollution or hindrance caused by the offence.
The open database can be used in several ways:
- To investigate the texts (scanned as pdf-file in Dutch) of individual decisions (first instance and appeal level)
- To generate datasets (*.csv) for statistical analysis (in English and Dutch).
- To consult cards with important characteristics of the decisions (in English and Dutch)
A simple application is to select cases you are interested in, for instance all appeal judgments where a forfeiture of illegal benefits was imposed. Using the search function (‘zoek’), you will get a list with the full text of those judgments in pdf.
If you want to work with a standardized dataset of the main case characteristics, you can download a comma-delimited (.csv) file by using the ‘Download detailed data’ link which can be found just below the search function (‘zoek’). The downloaded dataset will contain some main characteristics of the cases that meet your search criteria, for instance, all appeal cases regarding waste pollution. An overview of the case characteristics that are included in this data-file and their definitions can be found by used the ‘Downloaded data explained’ link which can be found just below the search function (‘zoek’).