Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tsai Center Events Focus on Public Interest Litigation in China

In June 2017, the Paul Tsai China Center hosted a series of events in Beijing with Chinese prosecutors, judges, and scholars on the role of government enforcement in public interest litigation. Senior Fellow Su Lin Han worked with Professor David Vladeck of Georgetown University Law Center (formerly the head of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection) and Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project (formerly the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement), to share their experience as top federal prosecutors in enforcing U.S. consumer and environmental protection laws.  

Since July 2015, China has launched a series of pilot projects for government prosecutors to initiate public interest litigation against private and government entities for violations of laws on environmental protection, food and drug safety, and state asset transfers. On June 30, 2017, China’s National People’s Congress amended the Civil Procedure Law and the Administrative Litigation Law to formalize the government prosecutors’ role in bringing public interest litigation in these areas, generating significant momentum to further develop laws and procedures for public enforcement through litigation.   

On June 26, the Center jointly hosted a full-day seminar with the National Procurators College to discuss the role of prosecutors as public interest litigants. In addition to talks given by Professor Vladeck and Mr. Schaeffer, senior Chinese prosecutors and scholars also presented their perspectives and experience on procurator-initiated public interest litigation in China. Participants of the workshop also included procurators from the SPP and the government prosecutors of Beijing and several other provinces, as well as scholars from the National Procurators College.

On June 27, Senior Fellow Su Lin Han and Professor Wang Xixin, Vice Dean of Peking University Law School, co-hosted a roundtable discussion on remedies and enforcement in government-initiated public interest litigation. In addition to Professor Vladeck and Mr. Schaeffer, participants included senior judges from various departments of the Supreme People’s Court and professors from Peking University Law School. The U.S. experts and Chinese judges and scholars extensively discussed key issues affecting government enforcement of environmental and consumer protection laws, particularly the use of consent decrees to implement and enforce remedial and settlement plans. 

On June 28, at the invitation of Judge Jiang Huiling, Professor Vladeck, Mr. Schaeffer, and Su Lin Han attended the 12th Annual Supreme People’s Court Applied Jurisprudence Grand Lecture Series, during which Professor Vladeck and Mr. Schaefer were featured as keynote speakers and shared their insights on the role of administrative law judges in relation to administrative enforcement and judicial review. Judge Wang Xiaobin, Chief Judge of the SPC Administrative Tribunal, provided comments following the U.S. experts’ presentations. Participants included judges from the SPC civil and administrative tribunals and researchers from the Institute of Applied Jurisprudence.