Circular of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on the Distribution of the 15th Batch of Guiding Cases of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (Mainland China)

Jolene Chen

This batch of guiding cases released by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate mainly covers administrative appeals and non-litigation administrative enforcement cases.  Two such cases are briefly introduced as below.

Case 1: An appeal involving a dispute over expropriation compensation between a certain industrial company and a certain city housing and urban-rural development bureau (Case No. 57)

The industrial company filed a complaint against the city housing and urban-rural development bureau to for apply the compensation standard for non-residential buildings, instead of the cost of construction and installation, for the area of the building under dispute.  The court granted the plaintiff’s claim on the basis that whether it is considered a self-added area should be based on the building area in the approved plan.  Neither party appealed with no retrial filed after this first instance.  The procuratorate found that certain evidence conflicts with other evidence in the case and discovered after an investigation that the approved plan and two other documents submitted by the plaintiff are actually photocopies provided by the plaintiff in his application for a property ownership certificate with the area altered.

The people’s procuratorate supervised the results of administrative judgments ex officio and did not presuppose that the parties will file a retrial with the court.  In supervising the administrative litigation, if the people’s procuratorate finds it difficult to determine the facts of the relevant case through the case file or the materials provided by the parties, an investigation shall be conducted for verification to ascertain if the administrative decision or adjudication rendered by a people’s court is erroneous, and whether the trial and enforcement activities meet legal requirements so as to provide a basis and reference for deciding if supervision should be conducted.  In this case, the city housing and urban-rural development bureau had its factual and legal bases at the time of its response letter, and it timely submitted such letter to the court during trial.  However, the court rendered an erroneous decision by relying on the false evidence provided by the plaintiff.  Through the procuratorate’s investigation and verification, files were retrieved from the original trial people’s court, and original documents, such as the plan approval, were obtained from the planning department.  In addition, questions were raised to the property registration center that issued the certificate and its staff to understand the process in which documents such as the planning certificate were copied.  As a result, it was found that the key evidence relied on in the original trial decision had been altered, and this provided evidence for the procuratorate’s appeal for a retrial.

Case 2: A supervision case in which a certain city land and resources bureau in the Zhejiang Province applied for compulsory enforcement of a penalty decision against illegal land occupation by a Du (Case No. 58)

In this case, the city land and resources bureau requested a Du who had illegally occupied land to construct a prefabricated house and a hardened cement ground in violation of relevant laws and regulations to return such land and demolish the illegally constructed facilities, and pay a fine for the illegal occupation.  Since Du neither timely complied with the penalty decision nor applied for administrative reconsideration or brought an administrative action, the city land and resources bureau applied to the district people’s court for compulsory enforcement to demolish the illegal facilities and collect the fine.  After accepting the application, the district people’s court approved the demolition set forth in the administrative penalty, which was supposed to be carried out by the township government.  The procuratorate found in the course of handling other cases, however, that the township government had failed to conduct the demolition pursuant to the court adjudication, and that Du still never paid the fine.  Therefore, the procuratorate initiated a supervision procedure ex officio.  The district procuratorate made recommendations to the district people’s court, proposing that the district people’s court should ascertain the reasons for failing to impose a fine as part of the administrative penalty and should handle this matter pursuant to law.  The procuratorate also proposed that the township government should ascertain the reasons for not demolishing the illegal facilities and should handle such matter pursuant to law.  After receiving the procuratorate’s recommendations, the district people’s court subsequently rendered a supplemental adjudication to approve the compulsory enforcement of the decision to impose the fine by the city land and resources bureau.  The supplemental adjudication was then subsequently carried out successfully.  The township government also acted swiftly and demolished the illegal facilities.

In this case, the people’s procuratorate conducted its supervision by making recommendations with respect to the omission of the people’s court in its adjudication of the administrative non-litigation enforcement application.  The items which the city land and resources bureau had applied to the district people’s court for compulsory enforcement included a fine, but the people’s court did not rule on it, and as a result, the fine could not be collected by way of compulsory enforcement, thereby undermining the public credibility of an administrative decision.  The people’s procuratorate thus corrected this issue by making time timely recommendations.