A New Turning Point in Marine Public Interest Litigation?
2020/4/29 14:01:00 本站

On April 28th, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) received the ruling of the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Court ruled to review the marine public interest litigation of the People's Government of Liushui Town, Pingtan County, Fujian Province, and Longxiang Real Estate Co., Ltd., Pingtan County, Fujian Province. The case was tried by two levels of courts in Fujian and was ruled not to be accepted on the grounds that the social organization did not qualify as a subject of marine public interest litigation.


Not only CBCGDF, Friends of Nature also encountered such a situation. In its case against Rongcheng Weibo Fisheries Co., Ltd., Wang Wenbo, and He Yanqing, the dispute over the responsibility for the destruction of marine ecology, similarly, after the two-level court was ruled not to accept the case, it applied to the Supreme People's Court for retrial. In February of this year, the Supreme People's Court ruled that the application for retrial by Friends of Nature was rejected.


In practice, many social organizations filed marine public interest litigation, but the courts ruled that they would not accept them. Whether it is the case of CBCGDF or Friends of Nature, the reasons are the same, the courts held that the provisions of Article 89 of the Marine Environmental Protection Law and the Environmental Protection Law are the relationship between the special law and the general law, the judicial interpretation of the Supreme Court regarding the hearing of disputes over the compensation of marine natural resources and damage to the ecological environment has shown that the subject qualification of marine environmental public interest litigation is exclusive to the marine supervision and management department, and social organizations do not have the qualification of such public interest litigation subjects.


However, after searching, we found that the marine regulatory department has not filed any marine public interest litigation in the past three years. We don’t know if it is true, or there is no report. In short, through public channels, no marine regulatory authorities have filed any marine public interest litigation. This resulted in the embarrassing situation that the court considered that the qualified subject did not file a public interest litigation in the face of the destruction of the marine ecological environment, and social organizations actively acted but were repeatedly rejected. However, the development of reclamation and reclamation projects occur every year, which is not uncommon, similar to the results of the ConocoPhillips Oil Spill incident a few years ago (the ConocoPhillips oil spill public interest lawsuit filed by the CBCGDF, which was also dismissed as a prosecution), we have all seen that the marine ecological destruction is facing a serious situation, relying on a single subject to file a public interest litigation is far from satisfying the actual needs, and it is difficult to contain the behavior of destroying the marine environment.


What's more, from beginning to end, we believe that the second paragraph of Article 89 of the Marine Environmental Protection Law is not a provision of "exclusive monopoly authorization", social public interest and national interest are not a concept. Article 3 of the Supreme People's Court "Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Disputes over Compensation for Damages to Marine Natural Resources and Ecological Environment" does not specifically exclude the right of social organizations to sue.


CBCGDF is grateful to the Supreme People's Court for giving social organizations an opportunity to explain their opinions, express their attitudes and understand the relevant laws and regulations. We also invite everyone to continue to follow the progress of the case.


(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:


By / Maggie