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Environmental Public Interest Litigation in China: A Critical Examination

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Transnational Environmental Law
Number of pages25
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date28/01/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL) by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) emerged in China within the last decade amidst the growing focus on environmental issues and the increasing political need to bring greater public participation to the area. This article examines the current practice of EPIL by NGOs in order to understand potential flaws and deficiencies of NGO participation in this relatively new field of environmental litigation. The article sets out by exploring EPIL as a legal pathway for the public to become involved in China’s environmental governance. It then analyzes the legal provision of environmental litigation in China before critically examining several instances of EPIL initiated by NGOs between 2015 and 2019. This article finds that NGOs show weaknesses in their current EPIL practice, including in case selection and litigation risk assessment, but are willing to test and potentially expand the scope of EPIL into new areas of environmental protection such as noise pollution and renewable energy. It concludes that these weaknesses and strengths of NGO involvement in EPIL reflect the constantly evolving landscape of environmental governance and environmental litigation in China.

Bibliographic note

The authors contributed equally and are listed in the alphabetical order.