The polluter pays principle is one of the basic principles of international environmental law
mentioned directly firstly only in 1972, however the principle were declared in 1929 in the
well-known Trail Smelter Case. The polluter pays is an economical principle, and in the
meaning of this principle the costs of pollution shall be shared between industrial companies
and consumers. Taking into consideration that after applying this principle price of products
will be higher than before, industrial companies shall reduce their pollution in the interest of
their (and their products’) competitiveness. Seeing the development of the principle in EU
level, the polluter pays were mentioned first time in the first „programme of action of the
European Communities on the environment” adopted in 1973. However it is questionable
what polluter, pollution, obligation of polluter and costs of pollution mean exactly, and for
this reason this principle cannot be applied automatically.
In this study I try to examine how the polluter pays principle works in the Hungarian national
law, especially in the Hungarian Civil Code. For this reason I examine the applicability of
Article 345 of the Hungarian Civil Code („Damages Originating from Hazardous
Operations”), with special regard to the case-law of the Hungarian civil courts. I also try to
introduce the possibilities and obligations of the public prosecutor in environmental issues.