Tribunal to hear environmental cases

Updated: 2016-02-19 07:59

By Cao Yin(China Daily)

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Specialized court would improve efficiency and ensure quality verdicts

A special court may be set up to hear disputes relating to the environment and ecology in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, to ensure the quality of verdicts and improve coordinated developments in the area, an official of China's top court said.

As the region with the country's worst air pollution, the number of environmental disputes in the cluster has been rising in recent years, "which is a major reason that we are planning to explore a new way to deal with such litigation," said Yan Maokun, director of the research department under the Supreme People's Court.

"We hope to first name a court in Hebei, which suffers from frequent heavy smog, to specialize in handling environmental and ecological cases in the province, in a bid to get experience in the hearings and then ask it to hear such disputes across the area," Yan said.

The top court issued a guideline on Thursday asking every court in the area to provide effective legal services as the country improves regional coordination.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Court, established in late 2014, and the Tianjin Maritime Court are also required to hear related cases in the region, he said, which will unify trial standards and increase efficiency.

Yang Tai'an, executive vice-president of the Hebei High People's Court, said that the regional courts will share case information and build a mechanism to increase communication.

"Information sharing will provide more convenience for litigants in the region, as similar cases sometimes received different verdicts in the past," Yang said. "But the sharing and the communication will solve this problem to a large extent."

Ma Qiang, vice-president of the Beijing High People's Court, said that the information sharing will also be used by litigants, "which means people can enjoy equal quality litigation services".

Ma said the guideline provides a legal basis to handle disputes caused by coordinated regional developments.

(China Daily 02/19/2016 page5)