Beijing News (新京报), June 19, 2013
This article explores recent attempts to utilize the latest revision to the Civil Procedure Law, which specifies that social organizations can file environmental public interest lawsuits, and finds that courts are unwilling to accept these types of cases prior to further clarification on the law. Since the law was put into effect at the beginning of the year, the All-China Environment Federation has attempted to file suits in three provinces, none of which have received a response from the court, despite requirements that a decision to accept or reject a case must be issued within seven days of its submission in order to allow the plaintiff to appeal to a higher court. When asked about the failure to issue a response, court officials stated that the importance of the case exempts it from time restrictions. Officials also emphasized the fact that the case had not been rejected, but that the “awkward situation” it presented required further consideration before a decision could be issued.