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▍Introduction to the Judicial Yuan

The Constitution of the Republic of China was promulgated in 1947. The central government established the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan; these are referred to as the five branches of government. The Judicial Yuan interprets the Constitution, adjudicate trials, is vested with disciplinary power and judicial administration.

The Organizational Structure of ROC's Government

1. Right of interpretation and jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court:

The Judicial Yuan provides constitutional interpretations and unified interpretations of laws and decrees, and the Justices preside over decisions. There are 15 grand justices (of which 1 serves as president and 1 as vice president) nominated by the President of the Republic of China and approved by the Legislative Yuan. Each grand justice serves for 8 years calculated individually and cannot be re-nominated to consecutive terms, but the two grand justices serving as president and vice president are not  restricted by term limits.

Pursuant to the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act, the grand justices review constitutional interpretations and unified interpretations of laws and decrees during meetings, and the grand justice who is also the president of the Judicial Yuan hosts the meetings. When necessary, Constitutional Court procedures must be applied when interpreting the Constitution and oral arguments are heard.

The Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act was promulgated on February 3, 1993, over 25 years ago. In light of the growing numbers and complexity of petitions to the Council of Grand Justices, the Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of the draft amendment to the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act with a total of 95 Articles on December 18, 2018, and renamed it the Constitutional Court Procedure Act, further institutionalizing the constitutional review system to protect citizens' constitutional rights. The Constitutional Court Procedure Act was promulgated by the President of the R.O.C. on January 4, 2019 and will take effect on January 4, 2022. The Council of Grand Justices will be fully institutionalized following the establishment of the Constitutional Court by grand justices of the Judicial Yuan on January 4, 2022 in accordance with the law. The Constitutional Court will operate in the form of a court with strict procedures, and will hear and rule on constitutional cases, government agency disputes, impeachment of the President and Vice President, dissolution of unconstitutional political parties, local self-government protection, and unified interpretation of laws and decrees in accordance with the Constitutional Court Procedure Act. Where other laws allow petitions for interpretations provided by the Judicial Yuan, depending on the nature of the petition, either a constitutional interpretation or unified interpretation of laws and decrees will apply.

2. Judicial Power of Courts of All Levels

(1) Civil and criminal cases: Cases are heard by the Supreme Court, High Courts and its branches, and the District Courts (including Juvenile and Family Court). Cases are heard on a "three-level and three-instance" basis; a few cases are on a "three-level and two-instance" basis. First and second instances are trials on matters of fact and the third instance a trial of the law.
(2) Administrative proceedings: Cases are heard by the High Administrative Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and District Courts on a three-level and two-instance system; the first instance is a trial on matters of fact and the second instance a trial of law.
(3) Intellectual property litigation: The Intellectual Property and Commercial Court is set up to handle intellectual property issues relating to first- and second-instance civil litigations, second-instance criminal proceedings, and first-instance administrative litigation.

3. Disciplinary Power

The Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries was restructured into the Disciplinary Court on July 17, 2020. Public functionary disciplinary cases are heard by the Disciplinary Court on a one-level and two-instance basis. Cases involving judges and prosecutors are heard by the Court of the Judiciary at the Disciplinary Court on a one-level and two-instance basis. Compared with public functionary disciplinary cases, the first instance for judge and prosecutor disciplinary cases has 2 additional judges to form a collegial panel. If the litigant does not agree with the judgment of the Disciplinary Court or Court of the Judiciary, the litigant may seek relief through appeal procedures, which are used for error correction and rights protection.

4. Judicial Administrative Power

The President of the Judicial Yuan is in charge of administrative duties and supervises all subordinate agencies and their duties according to the law, integrate internally and coordinate externally in order to improve the legal system, enhance judicial operations performance, enrich judicial working conditions and improve the quality and efficiency of trials. The Judicial Yuan may propose a bill to the Legislative Yuan for the organization and exercise of judicial power by judicial organs. The Executive Yuan may not cut the annual judicial budget proposed by the Judicial Yuan, but may provide its opinion and include it in the Central Government's budgets for deliberation by the Legislative Yuan.

  • Release Date : 2019-11-01
  • Update : 2023-04-07