Standing to Sue Beyond Individual Rights: Who Should Be Eligible to Bring Environmental Public Interest Litigation in China?

Qi Gao (Lead / Corresponding author), Sean Whittaker (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Formally adopted in 2012, environmental public interest litigation in China has expanded standing beyond individual rights by granting administrative authorities, procuratorates, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the ability to initiate environmental public interest litigation (PIL). However, the aims of enhancing the enforcement of environmental regulation and the development of the 'objective legality' model through civil society have not been met. This is as a result of administrative authorities and procuratorates being granted standing, which inhibits NGOs from initiating their own PIL in line with the aims of the 'objective legality' model. In order to promote participation by civil society and its actors in environmental law enforcement, NGOs should be granted preferential standing in environmental PIL. To this end, the current requirements for NGOs to be granted standing should be relaxed, and the standing granted to administrative authorities and procuratorates should be limited or removed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-347
Number of pages21
JournalTransnational Environmental Law
Issue number2
Early online date27 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019



  • Administrative authority
  • China
  • Non-governmental organization (NGO)
  • Procuratorate
  • Public interest litigation (PIL)
  • Standing

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