Notice on Implementing the System for Civil Environmental Public-interest Litigation

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Title: Notice of the Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Civil Affairs, and Ministry of Environmental Protection on Implementing the System of Environmental Public-interest Civil Litigation

Promulgating Entities:Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Environmental Protection

Reference number:

Promulgation Date: December 26, 2014

Expiration date:

Source of text: http://www.chinacourt.org/law/detail/2014/12/id/148057.shtml

Notice of the Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Civil Affairs, and Ministry of Environmental Protection on Implementing the System of Environmental Public-interest Civil Litigation

High people's courts, civil affairs offices (bureaus) and evironmental protection offices (bureaus) of all provinces, autonomous regions, and directly governed municipalities, and High People's Court branch court, civil affairs bureau and environmental protection bureau for the XinJiang autonomous region construction and production corps:

Notice is hereby given on the following matters on implementing the system of environmental public interest litigation, so as to correctly implement the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China, and the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues Regarding the Applicable Law in Environmental Public Interest Cases.

1. People's courts accepting and trying environmental public interest lawsuits raised by social organizations may, as needed by the case, make an inquiry to a social organization' registration management organ or verify a social organization's basic information, including its name, location, date of establishment, mission, scope of operations, legally-designated representative or responsible party, ongoing status, annual inspection information, engagement in operational activities, and record of legal violations known to the registration management organs; and the relevant registration management organs should promptly respond with the relevant information.

2. Where there is a situation of a social organization obtaining economic benefit from litigation, the people's court should send a judicial recommendation to the registration management organs, and the registration management organs will investigate and resolve it in accordance with law, and the result should be publicly announced and reported to the people's court.

3. After accepting a environmental public interest civil litigation, the People's Court shall give notice to the environmental protection department responsible within ten days for oversight and management of the defendant's conduct. After a competent department of environmental protection receives a lead that a people's court has accepted an environmental public interest civil litigation, it may begin a review and verification on the basis of the case leads; where it is discovered that the defendants' conduct constitutes an environmental administrative violation, they shall handle it in accordance with law and report the disposition to the people's court.

4. Where, as needed for hearing a case, people's courts obtain evidentiary materials from a competent department of environmental protection with supervisory and management authority, such as environmental impact assessment documents related to the defendant and their approvals, environmental permissions and oversight, pollutant discharge, or administrative punishments and their basis; the relevant department should promptly submit them to the people's court, except where laws and regulations provide that they must not be provided externally.

5. Where parties in environmental public interest civil litigation reach a mediation agreement or reach a settlement on their own, the people's court shall inform the competent department of environmental protection with supervision and management duties of the contents of the agreement. Where the relevant departments have comments of suggestions on the restoration costs, restoration fees or other content set out in the agreement, they should promptly raise these to the people's court.

6. People's courts may rule for the defendant to organize ecological restoration themself, or may retain a third party for ecological restoration, and when necessary, may request that the competent department of environmental protection with supervisory and management duties jointly organize the ecological restoration. The people's court may retain an appraisal organization with relevant qualifications such as in environmental harm appraisal to conduct an appraisal of the results of restoration of ecological harms; and when necessary may request that the competent department of environmental protection with supervisory and management duties jointly organize the ecological restoration.

7. Costs that the people's courts rule that the defendant will bear such as for ecological restoration and loss of services or function during the period of ecological harm or restoration, shall be used to restore the damaged ecology. . Necessary expenses borne by plaintiffs raising environmental public interest civil litigation during the course of litigation, such as in collecting evidence, consulting experts, inspections, and appraisals, may discretionarily be taken from the items described above.

8. People's courts should promptly notify the social organization that raised the environmental public interest litigation of the circumstances of the judgment's enforcement.

All levels of people's court, civil affairs department, and environmental protection department should earnestly comply and implement. Recommendations and problems encountered in implementation should be reported promptly and separately to the Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Supreme People's Court
Ministry of Civil Affairs
Ministry of Environmental Protection
December 26, 2014

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