Kunming Court To Fund Environmental Lawsuits

April 9, 2010 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: Environment

The Intermediate Peoples' Court of Kunming has announced that in conjunction with Kunming Municipal Environment Department it will set up a fund to defray the costs of lawsuits over environmental public welfare issues.

Yuan Xuehong, a representative from the Environmental Court of IPCK, explained that the Environment Court was established to protect the ecological environment and to punish environmental violators. Yuan said the court is open to all environment-related public welfare cases, but it has not received any actual environmental public welfare cases since it was established in late 2008.

Yuan believes that the reason that no cases have been filed at the court is the huge costs involved. He said it is impossible for an NGO to undertake to pay the huge fees involved in an environmental lawsuit. So it is necessary to set up a special fund to solve the problem of costs.

It is learned that in addition to covering costs related to environmental public welfare lawsuits and the restoration of the despoiled environment, the environmental public welfare lawsuit relief fund — which is reported to be raised from government investment, social donations, penalties imposed in environmental cases and compensation paid voluntarily by defendants — will be also offered as relief fund to the victims of environmental accidents.

The fund is said to be the first of its kind ever established in China and it is expected to help promote the healthy development of environmental public welfare lawsuits in China.

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