Original language

English

Country
China
Date of text
Status
Decided
Type of court
National - higher court
Sources
Court name
Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China
Reference number
Zui Gao Fa Min Zai No.47 No. 47 (Civil Ruling)
Tagging
Biodiversity, Standing, Inspections, Wetlands, Damages, Air pollution, Forests, Liability, Remedies, Administrative
Free tags
Waste & hazardous substances
Justice(s)
Liu Xiaofei
Wu Kaimin
Ye Yang
Abstract

The China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (the Foundation) brought environmental public-interest litigation against the company Ruitai for allegedly discharging excessive waste water into an evaporation pool, causing serious pollution to the Tengger Desert.  The court of first instance and appeals court both found that the Foundation did not have standing to sue.  The Supreme People’s Court applied a three-part test for public-interest litigation and determined that the Foundation does have standing to sue.

Key environmental legal questions

What elements must be satisfied for a social organization to bring environmental public-interest litigation: the assessment shall focus on three aspects (1) if the organization’s purpose and business scope include safeguarding the environmental interest of the public; (2) whether the organization actually engages in public-interest activities of environmental protection; (3) whether the environmental interest of the public in the present case is relevant to its purpose and business scope.  While the Foundation’s charter does not include the explicit language of “public-interest activities of environmental protection,” a broader interpretation of the Foundation’s charter and activities, which include the promotion of green development and biodiversity, confirm that the Foundation satisfies the criteria and has standing to bring the present case.