China / Government

Lawsuits against authorities see dramatic increase

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-13 07:42

Individuals and companies are filing a lot more lawsuits against government authorities in Beijing. The number more than doubled last year compared to 2013.

Such cases are expected to increase following the implementation of a revised law on May 1, making it easier for people to access the judicial process. Last year, courts in the capital received 21,478 administrative proceedings, which are lawsuits filed against governments and bureaus, Wang Mingda, vice-president of Beijing High People's Court, said on Tuesday. The figure was a year-on-year increase of 105 percent.

Governments and bureaus were accused of adopting behavior and policies that violated the interests of individuals and companies. The major focus of such cases was related to urban development, public security, business and land resource issues.

By May 8, 349 lawsuits were filed against county and district governments in Beijing, 62 percent more than all of last year.

Cases sent to trial involving governments in the capital accounted for 10.5 percent of the total number in the country last year, according to a report on administrative lawsuits released by the Beijing High People's Court on Tuesday.

This showed that people now have easier access to protecting their interests and have a better understanding of how to use the legal system, according to Wang. Administrative bodies have also changed their attitude toward lawsuits filed against them to some degree.

In 12.7 percent of these administrative proceedings, courts ruled against the governments, ordering them to cancel or change their actions and policies.

County governments in the capital lost 30.4 percent of administrative lawsuits brought against them last year, the highest proportion ever. Governments in lawsuits involving business, land resources and information exposure lost often, according to the report.

Wang said the number of cases lost by governments has continued to grow in recent years.

The report said the revised law on administrative proceedings will give the public and companies improved access to judicial proceedings in such cases, increasing the number of these lawsuits.

Beijing No. 4 Intermediate People's Court, which now handles administrative lawsuits against county and district governments, has dealt with 349 cases from its opening on Dec 30 until May 8 - an increase of 62 percent from that of last year, said Chen Lianggang, a judge at the court.

"In the first week after the revised law was implemented, we received 51 lawsuits against county and district governments, nearly triple the average weekly level in the capital last year of 17.5 cases," he said.

Wang Jingbo, a public policy professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said that judging from the report, county and district governments in Beijing have plenty of room to improve their administration in accordance with the law.

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