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SPC Highlights Environmental Case Surge in Report to NPC, Emphasizes Global Collaboration

Tue, 19 Dec 2023
Categories: China Legal Trends

On 21 Oct. 2023, Justice Zhang Jun, the President of China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC), submitted the “SPC’s Report on Environmental and Resources Trial Work of the People’s Courts” (hereinafter the “Report”, 最高人民法院关于人民法院环境资源审判工作情况的报告) to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

According to the Report:

  • From January 2018 to September 2023, all courts in China concluded a total of 1.47 million first-instance cases of various types related to environmental and resources issues. Among them, there were 186,000 criminal cases, 983,000 civil cases, 278,000 administrative cases, and 23,000 environmental public interest litigation cases filed by various entities. The number of first-instance environmental and resource cases accepted from 2018 to 2022 increased by 76.7 percent compared to the previous five years.
  • In June 2014, the SPC established the Environment and Resources Division to handle related cases and supervise and guide the environmental and resources adjudication in courts nationwide. As of now, courts at all levels nationwide have separately established 2,813 specialized environmental and resource adjudication institutions.
  • In October 2021, the SPC, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, organized the World Judicial Conference on Environment and approved the “Kunming Declaration” (hereinafter the “Declaration”, 昆明宣言). The Declaration clarified that environmental justice should adhere to three major legal principles: the principle of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, the principle of protection and sustainable use of natural resources, and the principle of liability for damage. It also advocated for the active application of four judicial measures: preventative and restorative judicial measures, public interest litigation, and diversified dispute resolution methods.



Photo by Shirley Xu on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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