Judicial-Spotlight Topics-Court of the Judiciary-Court of the Judiciary Link to Content Area
:::

logo

:::

Court of the Judiciary

▍1. About the Court of the Judiciary


Before the Judges Act is passed, the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission was in charge of the disciplinary actions against judges. Under the Constitution, judges shall, in accordance with law, hold trials independently. The role of a judge is different form the civil servant as the latter is obliged to obey the order given by his/her superior within the scope of their supervision. In most cases, the judge’s judicial position is highly relevant to individual’s right of existence, freedom and property. Therefore, on one hand, a specific system of procedures regarding to disciplinary action and the judicial relief for status protection shall only apply to judges. On the other hand, a judge is subject to supervision of duties to the extent that there is no influence on judicial independence. If there is a dispute over the application to supervision of duties and judicial independence, it shall be judged by an unbiased third party. The establishment of the Court of the Judiciary is based on constitutional rationale of judicial self-discipline. The Judges Act refers to German and Austrian law, establishing the Court of the Judiciary with a one-level and one-instance system under the Judicial Yuan. The Court of Judiciary is in charge of the following cases: Disciplinary actions against judges and prosecutors、Relief for judges' complaints toward the dispositions、Relief for the performance supervision that impacts on trial independence of the judge、Petition of the president of court to the Court of the Judiciary for a declaratory resolution that the affirmation by the Council of Judges violates the law.

There have been proposals to amend the Judges Act since it is enacted on 6th January 2012. One of the bills relating to part of Judges Act submitted by the Judicial Yuan on 7th January 2014, but the Legislative Yuan did not pass the bill due to discontinuous sessional meeting. After National Congress on Judicial Reform 2017, public hearings and consultations were held during an open discussion period, suggestions were collected from all walks of life, the Judicial Yuan re-suggested to make an amendment to the Judges Act in order to response to the society’s expectation for judicial reform and increase public trust and confidence in the Judiciary. The Judicial Yuan passed the bill “Amendment to Article 71, Paragraph 2 (Remuneration Chart for Judges) and other Articles of the Judges Act in the 171st regular meeting of the Judicial Yuan on 19th July 2018. After minor corrections, the bill was jointly proposed to Legislative Yuan by the judicial Yuan, Executive Yuan, and Examination Yuan. The Legislative Yuan passed the bill on the third reading on 28th July 2018 and the State President promulgated it on 17th July in the same year. (The Chapter of Court of the Judiciary becomes effective within one year from the date of promulgation.) Under the approved amendments, some significant reforms of the Judges Act shown in the following matters:

  1. The Court of the Judiciary is established by the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission.
  2. The Court of the Judiciary is conducted by a one-level and two-instance system, not a one-level and one-instance system.
  3. In the first instance of the disciplinary actions against judges or prosecutors, the Court of the Judiciary shall be conducted by a collegial panel with three professional judges and two lay judges in order to receive diverse viewpoints and increase public trust in the disciplinary judgement.
  4. Adding a provision relating to the types of disciplinary disposition, the date of effect of disciplinary judgement in order to be adopted in practice and improve the substantial efficiency in taking disciplinary actions.
  5. To prevent the involved judge from retiring or taking severance to avoid disciplinary proceedings, adding a provision to constrain the time for applying retirement or severance. Therefore, a judge whose case has been forwarded by the Control Yuan for discipline shall not take severance or apply for retirement before the judgment is rendered. Also, the judges shall return to the state coffer and the salary they have received during the period of time they are suspended from duties pending an investigation.

In the future, the Court of Judiciary was proposed in the hope of improving the exactitude and efficiency in taking disciplinary action against incompetent judges or prosecutors, maintaining the judicial independence, helping rebuild public trust and confidence in Taiwan's justice system.


▍​2. The Current Composition of the Court of the Judiciary


The current Court of the Judiciary is installed in the Judicial Yuan. The adjudication and ruling of the Court of the Judiciary is conducted by a collegial panel with the Chief Commissioner of the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission as the division-chief judge and four associate judges who shall possess more than ten years of experiences as tenured judges. At least one, but not all, of the associate judges shall be at the same level as the judge to be disciplined. The candidacy of the associate judges shall be recommended by the Judicial Selection Committee with a slate of twelve judges, and four at each level, to be appointed by the President of the Judicial Yuan for a term of three years. The Judges Act provides that the presidents of all courts who possess supervision authority shall not be a member of the Court of the Judiciary in order to maintain the fairness of the performance supervision in the Court of Judiciary.

In the near future, the amended Judges Act comes into operation in July 2020, the Court of the Judiciary with a one-level and two-instance system will be installed in the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission. Under the approved amendments, in the court of first instance, the adjudication and ruling of the Court of the Judiciary is conducted by a collegial panel with one of the commissioners of the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission as the division-chief judge and two judges as associate judges. In the trial of the disciplinary actions against judges or prosecutors, two lay judges shall be added to the panel. In the court of second instance, the adjudication and ruling of the Court of the Judiciary is conducted by a collegial panel with the Chief Commissioner of the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission as the division-chief judge and four judges as associate judges. The four judge representatives: two from the Supreme Court, one from the Supreme Administrative Court and one from the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission. In the court of first instance, at least one of the associate judges shall be at the same judicial division as the judge to be disciplined. The associate judges shall possess more than ten years of experiences as tenured judges, whose candidacy shall be recommended by the Judicial Selection Committee with a slate of six judges, three from normal court, the other three from administrative court, to be appointed by the President of the Judicial Yuan for a term of three years. The lay judge’s candidacy shall be recommended by the Judicial Selection Committee with a slate of six academia and societal representatives, to be appointed by the President of the Judicial Yuan for a term of three years. The term of service for associate judges and lay judges in the Court of Judiciary is three years. However, the term of the associate judges may be extendable while the term of the lay judges is fixed.


▍​3. The Position of the Court of the Judiciary


The Court of the Judiciary is in charge of the following matters: Disciplinary actions against judges and prosecutors、the relief in the event of the Judge’s complaints toward the dispositions of the Judicial Yuan、the relief in the event of performance supervision that impacts on trial independence of the judge、Petition of the president of court to the Court of the Judiciary for a declaratory resolution that the affirmation by the Council of Judges violates the law. The Court of the Judiciary plays a judicial independent role, with strict judicial procedures, to launch disciplinary action against incompetent judges or prosecutors on behalf of the State and resolve any disputes against judicial independence. Therefore, the judicial independence of judges under the Constitution can be maintained.

Under the Constitution, Judges shall hold office for life. No judge shall be removed from office unless he has been found guilty of a criminal offense or subjected to disciplinary measure, or declared to be under interdiction. No judge shall, except in accordance with law, be suspended or transferred or have his salary reduced. Therefore, the Court of the Judiciary may remove unsuitable judges if there are any facts indicating that the judges should be judicially disciplined.


▍​4. The Disciplines of a Judge


Under Article 50 of the Judges Act, it provides that the disciplines of a judge are as follows:

  1. Removal from judgeship duties and loss of civic servant appointment qualifications.
  2. Dismissal from office: In addition to dismissal from the incumbent office, all appointments are suspended for a period of no less than one year and no more than five years.
  3. Removal from judgeship duties and transfer to a position other than judgeship.
  4. Fine: In the amount of no less than one month but no more than one year of the total current monthly remuneration or the last monthly remuneration while in service.
  5. Reprimand.

The amendment also adds two types of disciplinary disposition: to revoke the pension and retirement allowance or retiremet allowance, 10%-20% of reduction in the pension and retirement allowance. The above dispositions apply to retired judges or judges who have left judgeship.

  • Release Date : 2019-11-06
  • Update : 2019-11-06
Top