China issues legal interpretation on housing expropriation rights

Updated: 2012-04-10 17:03


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BEIJING - China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has issued a judicial interpretation ensuring that homeowners' legitimate rights will be protected in government-led land expropriation and housing demolition practices.

Local courts can reject government housing demolition requests if the compensation for homeowners is deemed unfair, according to the new legal interpretation posted at, the SPC website, and effective from Tuesday.

The rule specifies circumstances under which courts should reject government requests for forced relocation, including where the proposed compensation "violates the principle of fairness" and where land expropriation "obviously lacks factual or legal basis" or has "severely violated the procedures provided by law."

In its request, the government should submit a series of documents, including those that reflect homeowners' views on the planned expropriation and an assessment on how the expropriation could influence social stability, according to the rule.

It said that after requests have been approved by a court, demolitions should "normally be carried out by administrative bodies" to distinguish judicial approval from law enforcement.

The rule supplements the existing regulation on housing expropriation, which, promulgated by the State Council in January last year, forbids local governments from executing their administrative rights to demolish housing without residents' consent, unless approved by a court.

However, the regulation fails to specify which party is responsible for carrying out demolition after judicial approval.