Diritto con “caratteristiche cinesi” e società civile: la riforma della “Legge di Procedura civile della RPC” costituisce davvero un “grande balzo in avanti” per le “azioni nel pubblico interesse”?
Abstract: Among the obstacles which impede the development of a truly effective system of Public Interest Litigation (公益诉讼, gongyi susong) in China, procedural problems occupy a prominent role. In particular, severe violations of public interest are often left unpunished due to the rigidity of rules relating to the right of standing, thus hindering a more profound involvement of civil society in public choices. For this reason, the publication of the “Amendment of Civil Procedure Law (Draft)”, approved, on 24th October 2011, by the first plenary meeting of the 23 session of the 11th National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee was received with great enthusiasm. The draft contained the first provision dedicated to Public Interest Litigation in the history of Chinese legislation. This provision has been modified both in the second and in the third reading of the revision, and has become the new article 55 of the amended Civil Procedure Law, an addition that has been, in general, welcomed as a big step forward in the development of PIL in China, although not in the direction hoped for by public interest lawyers. But is this really the case? According to the explanation (说明, shuoming) issued by the Standing Committee itself, the revision aims, among other things, to “adhere to the concept of “Rule of Law” with Chinese Characteristics”, “seriously sum up the experience of civil procedure law implementation” , “contrast new situations and problems arisen in the practice”, “promote parties’ litigation rights”, “protect the impartiality of justice administration” and, last but not least, “promote social harmony and stability”. But what is, realistically, the possible impact of the new procedural rules, on gongyi susong? In this paper, I will analyze the amended article 55, and describe the debate that preceded the approval of the amended Law. Besides, I will also analyse the extent to which the new environment would interfere with the possibility, for citizens, to take legal action against violations of the public interest..