Water pollution and admissibility of samples

The Divisional Court has made it more difficult for the National Rivers Authority (NRA) to bring prosecutions for water pollution offences by ruling that a "tripartite" procedure governing the analysis of effluent samples which are used as a basis for legal proceedings applies to water samples as well.

National Rivers Authority v Harcros Timber & Building Supplies Ltd (Times Law Report, 2 April 1992) concerned the interpretation of provisions in the Water Act 1989 dealing with the admissibility of samples in legal proceedings. These provisions have been repeated in the Water Resources Act 1991, which replaced the 1989 Act.

Prosecutions for water pollution offences commonly depend on evidence derived from samples. Prior to the 19

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