Procuratorial public interest litigation expands new areas (rule of law headlines)

  Our reporter Zhang Cong

  "People's Daily" (19th edition on January 14, 2021)

  The "Decision" of the Fourth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China further clearly requires "expanding the scope of public interest litigation cases" in the section "Strengthening the supervision of law enforcement".

Soon thereafter, the Supreme People's Procuratorate studied and implemented the spirit of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Party, and adjusted the guiding principles for exploring and expanding cases in new areas of public interest litigation from "safe and active" to "active and safe."

  One year has passed. How effective is the procuratorial organ in expanding the scope of public interest litigation cases?

What is the role of public interest litigation in the protection of public interests that are of concern to the people?

Expand the scope of public interest litigation cases

  Why does the scope of public interest litigation need to be expanded?

  In October 2014, the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China clearly proposed to "explore and establish a system for procuratorial organs to initiate public interest litigation."

The establishment of the procuratorial public interest litigation system has given a "national team" in the field of public interest litigation.

It is understood that in accordance with the current Civil Procedure Law, Administrative Procedure Law, and Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law, the scope of procuratorial organs’ current public interest litigation duties is “4+1”, namely, ecological environment and resource protection, food and drug safety, state-owned property protection, The transfer of state-owned land use rights and the protection of the rights and interests of heroes.

However, when the Civil Procedure Law and the Administrative Procedure Law were revised in 2017 and the public interest litigation system initiated by the procuratorial agency was clearly written into these two laws, the scope of the cases listed in them was followed by the word "etc."-which means In addition to the areas clearly stipulated by law, procuratorial public interest litigation also leaves room for the protection of other significant public interests.

  In Hangzhou, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is a cultural card, and taking a water bus to experience the charm of the Millennium Canal is the choice of many citizens and tourists.

However, some people stopped at the "last 10 meters" between the pier and the passenger ship because of the small steps.

  In March 2020, the procuratorate of the Gongshu District of Hangzhou found during the investigation that in the two passenger terminals of Gongchen Bridge and Xinyifang, there are only steps between the entrance and the boarding point, no barrier-free ramps, and no wheelchairs. Other assistive devices violate the relevant provisions of the "Measures of Zhejiang Province for Implementing the Regulations on the Construction of Barrier-free Environments".

In response to the above problems, the Gongshu District Procuratorate issued an administrative public interest litigation pre-litigation prosecution proposal to the Hangzhou Port and Shipping Bureau, urging functional departments to rectify the above two passenger terminals and carry out special rectification to effectively protect the legal rights of special groups.

Promoted by the prosecutors, barrier-free facilities at the two passenger terminals have been perfected. The city’s passenger terminal for public water services has a barrier-free passage setting rate of 78% and a wheelchair-equipped rate of 85%.

  “Barrier-free facilities are not exclusive to the disabled, but also benefit many groups with special needs, and are closely related to the public interest.” Bi Kelai, deputy director of the Sixth Prosecution Department of the Hangzhou Municipal Procuratorate, said that as representatives of public interests, the prosecutors promote the construction of barrier-free environments , Duty-bound.

In January 2020, the Hangzhou Municipal Procuratorate deployed and promoted a special supervision action for public interest litigation of barrier-free environment inspections throughout the city, which mainly involved eight types of blind tracks attached to municipal facilities that were illegally occupied or damaged, and pedestrian bridges were not equipped with barrier-free facilities.

As of October 31, 2020, the city's procuratorial organs have handled a total of 33 barrier-free administrative public interest litigation cases, involving a total of 125 violations of mandatory provisions of laws and regulations and mandatory provisions of national standards.

  The protection of public interests in Hangzhou from the people's livelihood is just a microcosm of the national procuratorial organs exploring and expanding the scope of public interest litigation cases.

From January to September 2020, procuratorial organs across the country handled a total of 15,046 cases outside the “equivalent” field, accounting for 16.7% of the total number of public interest litigation cases, of which cases outside the “equivalent” field before litigation procedures increased by 11.7% year-on-year.

Cultural relics and cultural heritage become new focus

  Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu is a world cultural heritage and a national key cultural relics protection unit.

  However, since 1996, in the construction control zone of the Mogao Grottoes under the Sanwei Mountain in Dunhuang, five stone mills and placer mines violated the prohibition on cultural relics protection, exploding and quarrying rocks, digging in disorderly piles and destroying the shape of the mountain during the operation. The dust from production operations poses hidden dangers to the ecological environment, landscape image and cultural relic safety of Mogao Grottoes, and at the same time causes great troubles to the living environment and health of surrounding residents.

  Since 2016, although relevant departments have repeatedly urged rectification, illegal activities have not been effectively curbed.

In November 2019, clues to the case reported by the masses were transferred to the Dunhuang City Procuratorate.

Since the case involved many departments with administrative supervision responsibilities and overlapping functions, the Dunhuang City Procuratorate adopted a public announcement on January 15, 2020 to issue pre-litigation procuratorial recommendations to the four administrative units with direct supervision responsibilities. All units are required to perform their supervision and management responsibilities and eliminate hidden dangers of cultural relics and environmental safety as soon as possible.

  Not only that, on April 25, the Dunhuang City Procuratorate also organized a roundtable on the implementation of rectification. The provincial and municipal cultural relics departments, the Dunhuang municipal government, the Dunhuang Research Institute and the Municipal Bureau of Natural Resources and other relevant units, as well as some people’s congress representatives and members of the CPPCC 20 The rest of the people participated and jointly negotiated and resolved matters related to the closure and exit of the stone plant, and helped the environmental protection of the cultural relics of Mogao Grottoes and Sanwei Mountain Scenic Area.

  "At present, the procuratorial organs are focusing on the field of cultural relics and cultural heritage as a new field of public interest litigation and deployment." Hu Weilie, Director of the Eighth Prosecutors Office of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, introduced that at the National People’s Congress in recent years, representatives of the National People’s Congress, The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference has put forward dozens of suggestions and proposals on public interest litigation in the field of cultural relics and cultural heritage protection. At the same time, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development also pay close attention to the practice of procuratorial public interest litigation in the field of cultural heritage protection and conduct special investigations. Leverage the procuratorial function of public interest litigation to jointly strengthen the protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage.

  "In general, from the top-level design of the central government to local legislation, to various relevant functional departments, there is a high consensus on giving full play to the procuratorial public interest litigation function, effectively activating and improving the level of cultural relic governance, and promoting the formation of a joint protection force." Hu Wei Lie said that as of November 2020, 23 provincial-level people's congress standing committees have made special decisions to strengthen procuratorial public interest litigation work, of which 17 have explicitly included the protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage into the scope of new areas of public interest litigation.

Handle one case, manage one

  The safety distance of building retreat railway is not up to standard. Prosecutors issued pre-litigation prosecution recommendations to prompt administrative agencies to strictly regulate the approval of railway-related construction planning; villagers stocked horses invaded the railway line safety protection zone to force trains to stop. Prosecutors urged and coordinated government agencies, The railway department and horse-raising villagers participate in governance together...On December 24, 2020, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and China National Railway Group Co., Ltd. jointly issued 10 typical cases of public interest litigation in the field of railway safety production.

  "With the full use of procuratorial public interest litigation, we will jointly promote the management of potential safety hazards along the high-speed rail." Wei Nanzhen, director of the corporate management and legal affairs department of China National Railway Group Co., Ltd., said that the external environment of the high-speed rail launched by the China National Railway Group since October 20, 2019 is concentrated During the rectification war, the National Railway Group and the public, procuratorate, and law enforcement agencies established a law enforcement supervision team to transfer key safety hazards along the high-speed rail as clues to public interest litigation to the prosecutors for handling.

After the congress, the law enforcement inspection team continued to strengthen cooperation with the procuratorial organs, handed over clues about related issues, the procuratorial organs extended the function of handling cases, promoted supervision of similar cases, and continued to follow up and supervise the potential safety hazards along the railway that could not be resolved in the short term. A batch of typical cases.

  Public interest litigation cases in the field of railway safety production generally have the characteristics of cross-regional, cross-departmental, and strong professionalism. The cause of hidden safety hazards along the line is complicated, the governance is difficult, and the main body of responsibility is diverse, which often becomes an old and difficult problem that plagues both sides.

“As a third-party force, the procuratorial organ intervenes in the rectification of railway-related safety hazards through public interest litigation, builds a platform for consultation and exchanges for all parties, and urges functional departments along the railway, territorial governments and railway departments to perform their duties in accordance with the law and form a joint force. One case, one case management effect." Hu Weilie said.

  The work report of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in 2020 proposes to standardize public interest litigation inspection work, expand the scope of case handling, and actively and securely handle safety production, public health, biosecurity, protection of the rights and interests of women, children and the disabled, cyber infringement, poverty alleviation, cultural relics and cultural heritage protection Public welfare damage cases in other fields.

  "Expanding the scope of public interest litigation cases must focus on the major decision-making deployment and legal implementation of the central government for service protection, and coordinate and coordinate to promote the solution of national governance problems, especially the outstanding problems that plague the people's good life." said Qiu Jinghui, the lead prosecutor of the Eighth Prosecutors Office of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate , "Positively and securely" explore new areas of public interest litigation. The "positive" side is to insist on being highly responsible to the people in the political position, be brave to take responsibility, and take the initiative; the "safe" side is to uphold the rule of law, rationality, and foothold Positioning the public interest litigation prosecution function, grasping the standardization of case handling procedures and entities, focusing on key areas, focusing on the quality and effectiveness of handling cases, and doing full-fledged investigations and evidence collection, research and demonstration, public opinion research and judgment, etc., to win support from all parties.