On Nov. 1, 2014, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China (the Revised Law), which will take effect May 1, 2015. The Revised Law includes significant changes to the 1989 Administrative Procedure Law (the 1989 Version), with an aim to expand and protect the people’s rights to sue the government. The significant changes are summarized below.
- Expanded Scope of Actionable Cases. The 1989 Version provides that a person has the right to sue a government agency if the agency committed a “specific administrative act” that injures such person. The requirement that the act be a “specific administrative act” has, in practice, often been used by courts to throw out cases. The Revised Law eliminated this requirement.
- Increased Protection for the Rights of Action.
- The Revised Law expands the scope of actionable administrative acts to include, for example, the abuse of administrative power to eliminate or restrict competition, illegal fundraising or apportioning expenses, the failure to pay for the basic cost of living allowances or social insurance benefits, and the violation of agreements on compensation for land and housing subject to eminent domain.
- The Revised Law requires people’s courts to place a case on their dockets if the complaints satisfy the conditions of an actionable case and requires the people’s courts to make this determination within seven days upon receipt of the complaint. If a complaint does not meet the conditions for an actionable case, the court is required to issue a decision stating its rationale for the refusal to place the case on its docket. A plaintiff may bring a case against a people’s court at higher level court if the people’s court fails to fillfull its obligations stated above.
- Appearance of the Defendant Agency ’s Responsible Person in Court. The Revised Law requires that the responsible persons of the defendant agencies appear in court or designate staff to appear in court. Failure to appear in court may result in the court’s issuing a judicial recommendation to the defendant agency superior to punish the responsible persons at the defendant agency.
- Enhanced Enforceability. The Revised Law enhances the enforceability of a court judgment, ruling or mediation document binding on the defendant agency by empowering the people’s court of first instance to adopt the following enforcement measures:
- notifying the relevant bank to transfer the sum from the account of the defendant agency;
- imposing a fine of RMB 50 to 100 per day on the responsible person of the defendant agency for any delay in performance;
- publishing an announcement regarding the defendant agency’s refusal to perform the order, ruling or mediation document;
- submitting a judicial recommendation to the supervisory agency or to the agency superior to the defendant agency; and
- imposing detention on the person-in-charge and the persons directly responsible for the defendant agency.
The Revised Law also includes provisions to further clarify the jurisdiction of administrative cases, improve evidence rules and establish summary procedures for administrative cases.
The Revised Law provides increased protection to citizens, legal persons and other organizations to sue the government.
- Administrative Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China (Revised in 2014)
- -《中华人民共和国行政诉讼法》 （2014 年修订）
- Issuing Authority: Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress
- Date of Issuance: Nov. 1, 2014 / Effective Date: May 1, 2015