China’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate have jointly issued a set of regulations that will clarify the rules guiding the handling of public interest litigation concerning marine resources and the environment.
Such public interest litigation, which shall include both civil and administrative actions, shall be filed in specialised maritime courts, according to the document made available on Wednesday.
After finding acts detrimental to the marine ecology and resources, a procuratorate may inform the competent authority to bring a lawsuit, the document stated.
It added that if the latter failed to do so, the procuratorate may file a civil public interest lawsuit at the maritime court.
When a procuratorate finds that the department responsible has failed to perform its duty to supervise and handle marine-related illegal activities, resulting in an infringement on national interests or public interests.
it shall put forward procuratorial suggestions to the department and file an administrative public interest lawsuit in case of the latter’s further inaction.
The judicial interpretation also stipulates that procuratorates may initiate incidental civil actions in public interest during criminal proceedings or separate civil public interest lawsuits.