Liang Huayou et al applying for cancellation of the fuel subsidy documents issued by the Department of Oceans and Fisheries of Hainan Province

Last update time:2019-10-22 05:00:04

Liang Huayou et al applying for cancellation of the fuel subsidy documents issued by the Department of Oceans and Fisheries of Hainan Province

[Basic facts]
The Claimants Liang Huayou and 161 other fishermen of Guangxi origin jointly bought a fishing boat. The Claimants affiliated the boat to a Hainan local fishery company for operation and management and shared the government fuel subsidies with the company. In 2014, the Oceans and Fisheries Department of Hainan Province issued the “Notice of Supplementary Opinions of 2012 on the Granting of Fuel Subsidy” (QHYB [2014] No.291, hereinafter referred to as “Notice No.291”) and the “Plan of Hainan Province of 2013 for Granting Finished Oil Subsidy to the Fishery Industry” (hereinafter referred to as the “2013 Fuel Subsidy Plan”), which listed the qualifications for receiving the fuel subsidy. For this reason, the Claimants were not qualified to receive subsidies in 2012 and 2013 because they did not meet the conditions set forth in Notice No.291 and the 2013 Fuel Subsidy Plan that required “the conformity of the four certificates”. The Claimants hence complained to this Court, requesting the Court to confirm that Clause 2,3,5,6 & 7 of Notice No.291 dated 9 September 2014 issued by the Defendant were illegal and shall be cancelled and item 1, 2 & 3 of Clause 2.2 of the 2013 Fuel Subsidy Plan dated 26 November 2014 issued by the Defendant were illegal and shall be cancelled.  

[Judgment]

The Court held that regulatory document was a generic term that included the decisions, orders and other general codes of conduct (excluding administrative laws or regulations) formulated by the administrative organs for the purpose of the implementation of laws and policies. In the subject case, Notice No.291 and the 2013 Fuel Subsidy Plan issued by the Defendant were not targeted at the 162 Claimants, but they had general binding force on the granting of finished oil subsidy in 2012 and 2013. Therefore, Notice No.291 and the 2013 Fuel Subsidy Plan were regulatory documents formulated by the Defendant. In accordance with Article 13.2 of the Administrative Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, the people's courts shall not accept complaints filed by citizens, legal persons, or other organizations against the decisions or orders with general binding force formulated and issued by the administrative organs. Therefore, the Claimants litigation requests were not within the acceptance scope of the people’s court and shall be dismissed according to law. In summary, according to Article 13.2 and Article 49.4 of the Administrative Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, and paragraph 1 of Article 3.1 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on the Application of the Administrative Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the Court dismissed the requests of the Claimants which alleged that Clause 2,3,5,6 & 7 of Notice No.291 (QHYB [2014] No.291) and item 1, 2 & 3 of Clause 2.2 of the “Plan of Hainan Province of 2013 for Granting Finished Oil Subsidy to the Fishery Industry” were illegal and shall be cancelled. The Claimants were not satisfied with the judgment and made an appeal, but the Higher People’s Court of Hainan Province upheld the original judgment in the second instance.  

[Significance]

According to Article 53 of the Administrative Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, if citizens, legal persons or other organizations consider that the regulatory documents formulated by the ministries or commissions under the State Council or local people's government and its subordinate departments which the administrative actions rely on are illegal, they may apply for a review on the regulatory documents when lodging a lawsuit against such administrative actions. The provision empowers a litigation right to the concerned person to apply for review on the regulatory documents. However, two tips should be kept in mind: 1.The application for review on regulatory documents cannot be made separately, but shall only be made incidentally when filing a lawsuit against an administrative action; 2. Regulatory documents usually include regulations, notices, measures, decisions, opinions or ordinances. Regulatory documents subject to the review of the people’s court only include those formulated by the ministries or commissions under the State Council or local people's government and its subordinate departments, but exclude those formulated by the State Council.