Prosecutors issue public interest case guide

Tian Shengjie
Due to the lack of the law and the experience in handling public interest litigation cases, six related cases and a guide have been released by the Pudong New Area's procuratorate.
Tian Shengjie
Prosecutors issue public interest case guide
Dong Jun / SHINE

Shared bikes are randomly put on sidewalk.

Due to the lack of the law and the experience in handling public interest litigation cases, six related cases and a guide were released by the Pudong New Area’s procuratorate on Tuesday.

The cases include putting shared bikes on the sidewalk, charging electric vehicles, damaging cultural relics, accumulation of refuse, sales of prescription drugs and discharging sewage.

“Cases can be easier understood by the public and companies than documents,” said Zhu Yimin, deputy chief prosecutor of the district’s procuratorate. “Rules and experiences will be summarized from those.”

From July 2017 to June this year, there were 364 cases related to the public interest in Pudong and the procuratorate has been handling 148 cases.

Though cooperation between the procuratorate and other official departments, 350,000 cubic meters of solid waste, 2,600 square meters of illegal construction, 144,000 square meters of forest and 2,530 square meters of waterways had been cleaned up during this period.

"The procuratorate lead to finding and solving the problems can make up for the lack in the work of other official departments and protect the public interest comprehensively," Zhu said.

Public interest litigation cases in China only date back three years.

On June 18, the Standing Committee of Shanghai People’s Congress said judicial authorities should strengthen the handling of public interest litigation cases. To implement this decision, the Pudong’s procuratorate issued a guide.

There are several highlights in it, which are first introduced into the public interest litigation cases in the city.

Firstly, those, who shrink their responsibility and refuse to correct, can be held accountable by the procuratorate with related official departments.

Secondly, the system of assessment for supervision departments about their dealing with the related cases will be established to prevent deferring enforcement.

“Those two highlights are in trial operation,” Zhu said.

Thirdly, more areas related to the public interest will be focused on. Although there are only five areas in public interest litigation now, the Pudong’s procuratorate is exploring the financial field involving in the public interest, such as peer-to-peer fraud cases, which cause a loss to thousands of residents in the city, Zhu said.

A research center for public interest litigation was established by the Pudong’s procuratorate and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics at its campus in Yangpu District on Tuesday.

The professors and scholars and the officials from the procuratorates in the city will work together to improve the rules and solve problems involving in the hearing the public interest litigation cases.

In their round-table conference, many officials from different procuratorates raised the questions in their practice, such as the definition of public interest and compensation.

For example, Tong Jun, director of Xuhui District’s procuratorate, posed a question that was recognized by many officials. 

He said there is a common situation that if a public interest litigation case is related to a criminal and administrative case, so long as the administrative departments such as the public security organization get involved, the procuratorate can take evidence and conclude the case easily. But those related to the civil case are hard to deal with because the responsible bodies are likely to keep violating the public interest without strict control.

“It is important that the procuratorates cooperate with other official departments, such as the ecological environment bureau, the culture and tourism bureau, and urban management and law enforcement bureau,” Tong said.

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