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The Taiwan Constitutional Court in a New Era

       The amended Constitutional Court Procedure Act (CCPA) is scheduled to take effect on January 4, 2022. This amended CCPA will expand the jurisdiction of the TCC, revise its organization and administration, and initiate a new designation and format for the decisions of the TCC, among other major changes. The CCPA of 2022 adds a new type of litigation, i.e., constitutional complaint against the final court decisions, to the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Constitutional Court (TCC), and enables the TCC to exercise a power of concrete review on top of its abstract review powers. It is expected that the caseload of the TCC will increase significantly in the first several years after 2022. Meanwhile, the CCPA of 2022 will establish a new Chamber system, each consisting of three Justices, to dismiss a petition without the deliberation of the full house. The decisions of the TCC will also change their designation from the current “Interpretation” to “Judgment” for those decisions on the merit, and from “Resolution” to “Order” for a dismissal. Accordingly, the TCC will issue its Judgments or Orders along the format of the decisions adopted by other courts in Taiwan.

 

The History of the CCPA

 

Title Dates of Promulgation/Entry into Force
Rules of the Council of Grand Justices September 16,1948
Council of Grand Justices Act July 21, 1958
Constitutional Court Procedure Act (1993) February 3, 1993
Constitutional Court Procedure Act (2022) January 4, 2019 / January 4, 2022

 

      Soon after its establishment in 1948, the Council of the Grand Justices, Judicial Yuan, adopted the “Rules of the Council of Grand Justices” as its first rules of procedure. In 1958, the Legislative Yuan (the Parliament) adopted a new stature, the Council of Grand Justices Act, to replace the said Rules. In 1993, the Legislative Yuan amended and renamed the said Act to be the “Constitutional Court Procedure Act.” This amended Act, among other revisions, added a new jurisdiction regarding the dissolution of unconstitutional political parties and mandated the holding of public hearings and the issuance of judgments in the name and format of a Constitutional Court, on such cases. In 2019 the Legislative Yuan overhauled the said Act of 1993 into a new “Constitutional Court Procedure Act,” which is scheduled to take effect in January 2022.

 

Key Changes in the New CCPA

 

      The amended Constitutional Court Procedure Act (CCPA) will take effect on January 4, 2022, including the following five features:

      Structural Changes: The official title of the Court used to be called the “Council of Grand Justices” of the Judicial Yuan, though it has been functioning as Constitutional Court in practice since 1948. This title change will erase the confusion arising from the old title and bring the name to be more corresponding to the real functions of the Court. Besides, the Court will hold more oral arguments and adopt related new measures in order to enhance the transparency and fairness in its adjudication process. The name (called “Interpretation”) of the Court’s decisions will also be changed into “Judgment” with a new format similar to that of the ordinary court decisions.

      Jurisdictions: The Court’s jurisdiction will expand to include “the constitutional review of the final court decisions,” along with the existing abstract review of the constitutionality of law and regulations.

       Procedural Transparency: The amended CCPA introduces the “Amicus Curiae,” modelled after the practice of the Supreme Court of the United States, so that the third parties, including individuals, competent authorities or organisations, can present their professional opinions or relevant information for the reference of the Court. Besides, the Court will release the Petition Briefs and Reply Briefs to the public on its official website, after a petition is granted review by the Court. Any party will be allowed to apply for reading, transcribing, or photocopying the documents in the court dossier.

       Decisions: Any judgment rendered by the Court will indicate the name of the Justice who authors the majority opinion, along with the names of those Justices who join the majority opinion and of those Justices who dissent. The Court will continue its long practice to release each concurring or dissenting opinion together with the judgment.  

       Presidential Impeachment Proceeding: The amended CCPA will provide for the formal proceedings regarding the impeachment against the President and/or the Vice President, which was added to the jurisdiction of the Court in the Additional Articles of the Constitution in 2005.

 

Table of Contents of the New CCPA

 

Chapter I. General Principles

Chapter II. General Procedural Provisions

Chapter III. Petitions Concerning Constitutionality of Laws and Constitutional Complaints

Chapter IV. Disputes between Constitutional Organs

Chapter V. Impeachment against the President and/or the Vice President

Chapter VI. Dissolution of Unconstitutional Political Parties

Chapter VII. Local Self-Government

Chapter VIII. Uniform Interpretation of Statues and Regulations

Chapter IX. Miscellaneous Provisions

 

Jurisdiction and Types of Proceedings

 

Jurisdiction
(1)Abstract Review of the Constitutionality of Statutes and Regulations
(2)Constitutional Complaint against the Final Court Decisions
(3)Disputes between Constitutional Organs
(4)Impeachment against the President and/or the Vice President
(5)Dissolution of Unconstitutional Political Parties

(6)Local Self-Government

(7)Uniform Interpretation of Statues and Regulations

 

Comparisons between the Old and New CCPA

 

 

Old CCPA of 1993

New CCPA of 2022
Organization A 15-Justice Court without any Chamber

Institution of a three-Justice Chamber system

Jurisdiction Abstract review of the constitutionality of laws and regulations

Abstract review of the constitutionality of laws and regulations

Concrete review of the final court decisions

Petition Threshold for the Legislators One-third or more of the total number of the incumbent Legislators A quarter or more of the total number of the incumbent Legislators
Proceedings

Mostly adjudicated in the closed-doored conferences

Holding of oral arguments only in exceptional cases

Adjudicating cases in the name and format of the Constitutional Court

Oral arguments for most cases granted review

Accessibility of the Proceedings

Release of the petition briefs together with the publication of Interpretations

No access to the court dossier before and after the Court makes its decision

No Amicus Curiae briefs

Petition briefs and reply briefs will be released to the public once a petition is granted review

Parties have the access to the court dossier during and after the proceeding

Amicus Curiae briefs

Voting Threshold A two-thirds majority of the total number of the incumbent Justices, with a quorum of two-thirds of the total number of the incumbent Justices taking part in the proceedings A simple majority of the total number of the incumbent Justices, with a quorum of two-thirds of the total number of the incumbent Justices taking part in the proceedings
Decisions

”Interpretation” for a decision on the merit, and “Resolution” for dismissal of a petition

Always in the name of the Court (Per curiam decisions)

“Judgment” for a decision on the merit, and “Order” for dismissal of a petition

Indication of the name of the author-justice of the majority opinion as well as the voting position of each Justice

  • Release Date : 2021-01-15
  • Update : 2021-03-12
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