Public interest litigation refers to the enforcement of laws associated with the protection of public interest. Public interest litigation is introduced in the court of law, not by a complaining party, however, but through the court itself. This specific field of law is not always carried out by a victim of a crime or violation, but instead, by the public court system to uphold a positive treatment of the general society. Public interest litigation awards the public courts power through judicial activism.
Public interest litigation is a relatively new field of law. As oppose to upholding the laws associated with business policy or private well being, public interest litigation views society as a functioning unit. If there is an action taken by an individual or entity that harms the well-being the unit or disrupts society form working in harmony, public interest litigation will enforce various laws to punish the entity.
The environment is a dominating issue within the broad scope of public interest litigation. The environment is obviously a shared space, it is the community in which we are all apart of. If a corporation, entity, or individual deliberately damages the environment in way that disrupts the well-being of the greater population public interest litigation will be utilized to find a legal resolution to the matter. As stated before, to spark a public interest litigation case the need for a damaged party is not necessary; the public court itself initiates the trial to enforce the laws on the party accused of disrupting society's function or well-being.