Abstract

This article traces a civil environmental lawsuit from dispute to decision to explore how environmental law works, as well as how lawyers and litigants try to work the law. Detailing ground-level encounters with a legal system promoted and carefully watched by political elites offers a fresh perspective on the ways the past 30 years of legal reforms have affected the experience of China’s court users. Amid accounts of financial stress, lawyer–client tensions and the hunt for elite allies, what emerges is a story of variation. Although plaintiffs and lawyers agree that environmental cases are hard and wringing concessions out of polluters requires remarkable persistence, the process sometimes creaks forward so that appraisals are conducted on time, help is solicited and compensation won. How Chinese courts work (and how well they work) depends on local circumstances, an insight that suggests that disaggregating expansive concepts like rule of law is a helpful way to explore complexity instead of glossing over it.

Included in

Law Commons

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.