SPC Opinion on Environmental Litigation

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最高人民法院关于全面加强环境资源审判工作为推进生态文明建设提供有力司法保障的意见

 

The SPC hereby puts forth the following opinions on comprehensively strengthening the judicial work of people's courts that relate to environmental resources in order to provide effective judicial safeguards to promote the construction of an ecological civilization, realize in full the functional role of trials by the people's courts, and thoroughly implement the ideas of the 18th Party Congress, the Third Plenary Session and a series of Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches.

 

I.The key significance of strengthening judicial work in natural resources in the new situation

1.The comprehensively strengthening the judicial work of the people's courts is an inevitable requirement of implement the central authorities decision and promoting the construction of an ecological civilization. China presently faces the grim situation of tight resource constraints, serious environmental pollution, and ecosystem degradation, all which have already affected the sustainable development of the people's lives, health, and their economic and social development. The 18th CPC Central Committee put the establishment of an ecological civilization into the "five in one" overall layout for socialism with Chinese characteristics in order to reverse the trend of ecological deterioration at its source, build a beautiful China, and actualize the sustainable development of the Chinese nation. The Decision of the CCCPC on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform made at the third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee further stated that systemic integration of ecological civilization systems must be established in order to build an ecological civilization, protecting the environment using the system. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed moving toward a new era of ecological civilization and building beautiful China is an important part of the Chinese dream of realizing the grant rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. People's courts at all levels, being faced with new tasks and situations, need to carefully study the new ideas and theses from the central authorities on strengthening the construction of an ecological civilization and unify their thinking with them. They must comprehensively strength their judicial work related to natural resources, and sanction unlawful acts, such as environmental pollution or ecological damage, through legal means, and realistically safeguard natural resources and the implementation of an environmental protection system, in order to uphold the people's health and lives and promote social harmony and stability as well as sustainable social and economic development.

2. Comprehensive strengthening of judicial work related to natural resources is in response to people's new expectations of environmental justice to uphold the people's inevitable demand for environmental rights. General Secretary Xi Jinping has set out a series of new ideas and demands such as "Mountains, waters, forests, farmlands and lakes form a community of life," "Beautiful mountains and rivers are our mountains of gold and silver," and "To meet the people's desire for a happy life is our mission." People's environmental consciousness is vastly becoming progressively stronger in line with the rapid development of the economy and the increasing improvement of material standards of living. Demands for quality ecological products and good environmental conditions including water, clean air, and safe foods are becoming increasingly urgent, and calls for participation in environmental protection are also on the rise. People's courts at all levels should actively respond to the new expectations and demands for environmental justice and hold hearings on environmental cases in accordance with the law, conscientiously upholding the public's environmental rights and interests and providing solid judicial projection for future generations of Chinese to enjoy a beautiful living and ecological spaces.

3. 全面加强环境资源审判工作是统一裁判尺度、保障环境资源法律正确实施的必然要求。民事诉讼法规定了环境公益诉讼制度,修订后的环境保护法大大强化了对生态环境的保护力度,进一步明确了环境公益诉讼主体范围,与其他环境资源保护法律一起形成了较为完善的环境资源保护法律体系,成为预防和惩治污染环境、破坏生态行为的有力法律武器。 People's courts at all levels should seriously study and thoroughly implement legislation on natural resources, making an in-depth study of legislation related to trying environmental cases, and updating their judicial philosophy on natural resources. They should standardize their trial procedures for environmental cases, unify their judgement scale, and promote and safeguard the comprehensive and correct implementation of legislation on natural resources through quality, efficient hearings and execution.

 

II.Guiding ideology, basic principles, and goal mission in judicial work relating to natural resources

4. Guiding Ideology. 以党的十八大和十八届二中、三中全会精神为指导,认真学习贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神,深入贯彻中央关于全面深化改革的重大部署,紧紧围绕“让人民群众在每一个司法案件中都感受到公平正义”的目标,牢牢坚持司法为民、公正司法工作主线,切实贯彻节约资源和保护环境的基本国策,更加重视和全面加强环境资源审判工作,依法审理环境资源保护类案件,积极推进环境资源司法理论和制度研究,促进完善最严格的源头保护制度、损害赔偿制度、责任追究制度,为推进生态文明建设,增进人民福祉,建设美丽中国提供有力司法保障。

5. Basic Principles. 一要坚持依法保护。 依照法律和行政法规的规定履行环境资源司法保护职责,切实维护人民群众环境资源权益。 注意加强与检察机关、公安机关和环境资源保护行政执法机关的工作沟通,分工负责、各司其职、协调联动,共同扭转生态环境恶化趋势。 二要坚持保护优先。 积极创新审判机制和执行措施,按照环境资源保护优先的要求,加大对污染环境和破坏资源行为的惩处力度。 三要坚持注重预防。 在案件审理过程中积极采取司法措施预防、减少环境损害和资源破坏,通过事前预防措施降低环境风险发生的可能性及损害程度。四要坚持损害担责。 落实全面赔偿规定,探索建立环境修复、惩罚性赔偿等制度,依法严肃追究违法者的法律责任。

6. Target Tasks. 环境资源纠纷司法救济渠道畅通;环境资源源头保护、损害赔偿、责任追究制度得到落实;环境公益诉讼、环境资源案件管辖等制度不断完善;环境资源刑事、民事、行政、执行等司法保护体系更加健全;环境资源法官队伍专业化水平和司法能力显著提高;环境资源审判工作全面加强,职能作用充分发挥。

 

III. Fully bringing into play the people's courts' function in environmental resource judgements

7. 依法严惩污染环境、破坏资源犯罪。 加大对涉及环境资源保护刑事案件的审判力度,依法严惩污染环境、乱砍滥伐、滥捕野生动物、乱采滥挖矿产资源、非法占用农用地、制污排污、非法处置进口固体废物、擅自进口固体废物等污染环境和破坏资源违法犯罪行为。 Strictly punish crimes of neglecting duties to supervise environmental resources. 对造成环境污染严重后果的投放危险物质犯罪、重大安全责任事故犯罪,以及受害群众较多的涉众型案件,积极配合有关部门做好善后处置工作,最大限度地维护人民群众的合法权益。

8. 依法审理环境资源民事案件。 畅通司法救济渠道,完善司法便民措施,依法及时受理环境资源保护民事案件。妥善审理与土地、矿产、草场、林场、渔业、水、电、气、热力以及海洋等环境资源保护相关的物权、合同和侵权案件,特别要加强对污染土壤、污染水源等环境侵权案件的审理。 对于涉及到矿业权、林权及其他自然资源权属的股权转让、承包、联营、出租、抵押等案件,要将保护生态环境和自然资源作为裁判的重要因素予以综合考量。 充分发挥保全和先予执行措施的预防和减损作用,对于保全和先予执行申请,要及时受理、迅速审查、依法裁定、立即执行。 依法确定当事人举证责任,对于因污染环境、破坏生态发生的纠纷,原告应当就存在污染行为和损害承担举证责任,并提交污染行为和损害之间可能存在因果关系的初步证据,被告应当就法律规定的不承担责任或者减轻责任的情形及其行为与损害之间不存在因果关系承担举证责任。

9. 依法审理环境资源行政案件。 依法受理环境资源行政案件,充分保障当事人诉权。 案件审理既要从程序上审查行政机关的执法程序是否合法,也要从实体上审查行政许可、行政处罚等行为是否符合法定标准,特别要加强对行政机关不履行查处违反环境资源保护法律法规行为职责案件的审理,督促行政机关依法履职。谨慎适用协调手段结案,最大限度保护行政相对人的合法权益以及社会公众的环境健康与安全。 妥善审理山林权属纠纷及确权行政案件,促进健全自然资源资产产权制度,加强对土地、矿产、水源、森林等自然资源的保护。 妥当处理因同一环境资源纠纷引发的民事诉讼与行政诉讼的关系,避免不同审判组织对同一行政行为作出矛盾认定。 积极探索环境行政诉讼与民事诉讼的合并审理,不断完善环境行政诉讼证据规则和法律适用规则。

10. 加大环境资源案件执行力度。 执行过程中积极争取环境资源保护行政执法机关的支持和配合,确保被执行人应承担的行政责任及民事责任落实到位。 适当采取限期履行、代为履行等方式实现恢复生态环境的目的。 创新执行方式,探索建立环境资源保护案件执行回访制度,密切监督判决后责任人对污染的治理、整改措施以及生态恢复是否落实到位。 依法审查环境行政非诉案件,对环境资源保护行政执法机关依法申请人民法院强制执行生效行政处罚决定,人民法院经审查裁定准予强制执行的,应当及时组织实施强制执行。

 

IV. Greatly promoting environmental public interest litigation

11 Fully protect legal the environmental public interest litigation rights of legally designated organs and relevant organizations. Follow the relevant provisions of laws such as the Civil Procedure Law, The Environmental Protection Law and the Maritime Environments Protection Law to fully protect the litigation rights of plaintiffs in public interest environmental lawsuits and promptly accept eligible public interest law suits. 对于负有监督、管理、保护环境公共利益职责的海洋环境监督管理部门等机关依法提起的公益诉讼,以及符合环境保护法第五十八条规定的社会组织提起的公益诉讼,应当依法受理。 同一污染环境、破坏生态行为既损害社会公共利益,又损害公民、法人和其他组织民事权益的,有关机关和组织提起公益诉讼,不影响受害人另行提起民事诉讼。

12. 依法确定环境民事公益诉讼的管辖法院。 Environmental public interest litigation is usually in the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's court for the area where the violation occurred or for the residence of the defendant. Where either a single plaintiff or different plaintiffs separately raise an environmental public interest lawsuit arising from the same conduct in 2 or more people's courts that have jurisdiction, the first people's court to accept the case has jurisdiction. The shared people's court at the level above may also designate a court among those with jurisdiction to have consolidated jurisdiction.

13. 探索完善环境民事公益诉讼的审判程序。 Explore mechanisms for communicating and coordinating in accepting cases, promptly reporting the circumstances of environmental public interest lawsuits to the environmental resources protection administrative organs. Explore establishing a system for announcing case acceptances, promptly announcing the acceptance of environmental public interest lawsuits. 对于审理案件需要的涉及社会公共利益的证据原告因客观原因无法取得的,可以依职权调取。对于原告承担举证责任的涉及社会公共利益的事实需要鉴定的,可以依职权委托鉴定。对于当事人达成的调解协议或者和解撤诉申请,应当特别注重审查是否损害国家利益、社会公共利益或者他人合法权益。 Effective judgments which need to employ compulsory enforcement measures may be transferred for enforcement.

14. 依法确定环境民事公益诉讼的责任方式和赔偿范围。 People's courts hearing environmental public interest litigation cases may follow the plaintiff's request to order the defendant to stop a violation, remove an obstacle, eliminate a danger, return assets, restore original conditions and compensate losses. Research and explore the relationship between the scopes of compensation in environmental public interest litigation and private litigation. 环境公益诉讼的原告请求被告赔偿预防损害发生或恢复环境费用、破坏自然资源等生态环境造成的损失以及合理的律师费、调查取证费、鉴定评估费等诉讼支出的,可以根据案件审理情况予以支持。 探索设立环境公益诉讼专项基金,将环境赔偿金专款用于恢复环境、修复生态、维护环境公共利益;尚未设立基金的地方,可以与环境资源保护行政执法机关、政府财政部门等协商确定环境赔偿金的交付使用方式。

15. 探索构建合理的诉讼成本负担机制。 Increase judicial assistance for environmental public interest litigation, and where organs designated by law or relevant organizations make a request to the court to delay, reduce or waive case acceptance fee or application security fees, it may be approved. Reasonably determine the entity responsible for litigation fees; when the plaintiff prevails, it may be ordered that the defendant bears the plaintiff's reasonable lawyers fees, investigation fees, and forensic evaluation fees. Encourage the payment of environmental public interest litigation fees from the environmental public interest litigation fund, fully bringing into play the active role of environmental public interest litigation bodies in protecting the public interest in the environment.

 

V. Promoting reforms of the environmental resources justice system

16. 合理设立环境资源专门审判机构。 本着确有需要、因地制宜、分步推进的原则,建立环境资源专门审判机构,为加强环境资源审判工作提供组织保障。 高级人民法院要按照审判专业化的思路,理顺机构职能,合理分配审判资源,设立环境资源专门审判机构。 中级人民法院应当在高级人民法院的统筹指导下,根据环境资源审判业务量,合理设立环境资源审判机构,案件数量不足的地方,可以设立环境资源合议庭。 个别案件较多的基层人民法院经高级人民法院批准,也可以考虑设立环境资源审判机构。

17. 积极探索环境资源刑事、民事、行政案件归口审理。 结合各地实际,积极探索环境资源刑事、民事、行政案件由环境资源专门审判机构归口审理,优化审判资源,实现环境资源案件的专业化审判。 未实行环境资源案件归口审理的地方,要注重加强刑事、民事、行政审判机构之间的业务协调与沟通。

18. 探索建立与行政区划适当分离的环境资源案件管辖制度。 逐步改变目前以行政区划分割自然形成的流域等生态系统的管辖模式,着眼于从水、空气等环境因素的自然属性出发,结合各地的环境资源案件量,探索设立以流域等生态系统或以生态功能区为单位的跨行政区划环境资源专门审判机构,实行对环境资源案件的集中管辖,有效审理跨行政区划污染等案件。

 

VI. Establishing and completing working mechanisms for environmental resource justice

19. 加强环境资源司法解释和调研工作。 紧密结合我国环境资源司法保护需求,加强对环境资源司法保护新问题的法律适用和诉讼制度研究,借鉴国际环境资源司法保护的有益经验,适时就环境资源损害民事责任、环境民事公益诉讼、矿业权等环境资源纠纷适用法律问题制定司法解释。加强对碳排放交易、排污权交易、水权交易、新能源开发利用及环境服务相关纠纷等新课题的研究,待条件成熟时出台司法解释或者指导意见。积极参与环境资源立法,深入调研及时提出立法建议,推动环境资源法律体系的不断完善。

20. 充分发挥专家在环境资源审判工作中的作用。 建立环境资源审判专家库,在审理重大疑难案件、研讨疑难专业问题、制定规范性文件时,充分听取专家意见。 可以聘请环境资源领域的专家担任特邀调解员,运用专业技术知识促使当事人自觉认识错误,修复环境,赔偿损失。 保障当事人要求专家出庭发表意见的权利,对于符合条件的申请及时通知专家出庭就鉴定意见和专业问题提出意见。

21. 加强环境资源保护职能部门之间的协调联动。 加强环境资源审判机构与立案、执行和审判监督机构之间的工作衔接,加强上下级法院之间的信息通报和业务交流。 充分运用司法建议促进环境执法。 积极推动建立审判机关、检察机关、公安机关和环境资源保护行政执法机关之间的环境资源执法协调机制。 加强与环境资源保护行政执法机关和司法鉴定主管部门的沟通,推动完善环境资源司法鉴定和损害结果评估机制。

 

VII. Increasing the degree of transparency and publicity in environmental resources justice

22. 加大环境资源审判公众参与和司法公开力度。 积极回应人民群众参与环境资源保护意愿,在环境资源审判领域全面推行人民陪审员参与案件审理。 自觉接受社会公众监督,推动建立中国环境资源裁判文书网,及时上网公开生效裁判文书。 对于有重大影响的案件,邀请人大代表、政协委员、社会公众等旁听庭审,增强环境资源审判的公开性和公信力。

23. Increase the force of publicity on judicial protection of environmental resources. 充分运用传统媒体和微信、微博、新闻客户端等新媒体,通过公开审判、以案说法、发布环境资源司法重要新闻和典型案例等形式,宣传环境资源保护法律法规,提高公众环境资源保护意识。 定期发布《中国环境资源审判白皮书》,增进社会公众对环境资源司法保护制度及保护状况的客观全面了解。

 

VII. Greatly strengthening the construction of an environmental resources trial team

24. 加强环境资源审判队伍的思想政治建设。 按照习近平总书记提出的“五个过硬”的标准,结合环境资源审判工作的政策性与专业性要求,强化队伍的政治意识、大局意识、群众意识、国情意识、稳定意识,确保环境资源审判工作为党和国家工作大局服务。

25. 加强环境资源审判队伍专业化建设。 按照环境资源专业审判要求,适时引进人才,注重培养人才。加大环境资源审判队伍的培训力度,学习环境资源专业知识,研究审判疑难问题,更新司法理念,提升司法能力,努力打造一支政治强、业务精、素质高的专业化环境资源审判队伍。

26. 加强环境资源审判机构领导班子建设。 选优配强环境资源审判机构领导班子,增强领导班子把握环境资源审判工作全局和破解环境资源保护实践难题的能力,提高领导班子集体决策能力和整体合力,形成讲政治、顾大局、有凝聚力、有战斗力的领导核心,为全面加强人民法院环境资源审判工作提供坚强的组织领导。

 

Supreme People's Court

2014年6月23日

 

 

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