The Judicial Yuan (Chinese: 司法院; pinyin: Sīfǎ Yuàn; Wade–Giles: Szu1-fa3 Yüan4; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Su-hoat Īⁿ) is one of the five branches (五院; wǔyuàn) of the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan, and serves as the highest judicial organ.
Its Justices of the Constitutional Court (大法官會議, literally ‘Council of Grand Justices’), with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution. The President and Vice President of the Judicial Yuan are chosen from among the Justices by the President. Eight of the grand justices, including the president and vice president of the Judicial Yuan, serve four-year terms, and the remaining justices serve eight-year terms.
The Judicial Yuan also supervises the Supreme Court, the high courts, the district courts, the Administrative Court, and the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Public Functionaries.
According to Articles 77 and 78 of the Constitution of the Republic of China, Article 5 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, Articles 30, 43, and 75 of the Local Government Systems Act, the major functions of the Judicial Yuan are as follows:
The Justices of the Constitutional Court (also known as the Council of Grand Justices) provides rulings on the following four categories of cases:
A petition for an interpretation of the Constitution shall be filed in the following circumstances:
The Justices are:
The Supreme Court (Chinese: 最高法院; pinyin: Zuìgāo Fǎyuàn) is the court of last resort for civil and criminal cases. A civil case can be appealed to the Supreme Court only when more than NT $1,500,000 is at stake. Except for petty offences enumerated in Article 376 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, any criminal case may be appealed to the Court.
This Court exercises jurisdiction over the following cases:
There are six High Court (Chinese: 高等法院; pinyin: Gāoděng Fǎyuàn) branches in the Taiwan Area (including Taiwan and part of Fujian):
|1||Taiwan High Court||臺灣高等法院|
|2||Taiwan High Court Taichung Branch Court||臺灣高等法院臺中分院|
|3||Taiwan High Court Tainan Branch Court||臺灣高等法院臺南分院|
|4||Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch Court||臺灣高等法院高雄分院|
|5||Taiwan High Court Hualien Branch Court||臺灣高等法院花蓮分院|
|6||Fujian High Court Kinmen Branch Court||福建高等法院金門分院|
The High Courts and its branches exercise jurisdiction over the following cases:
The High Courts and its Branch Courts are divided into civil, criminal and specialized divisions. Each Division is composed of one Division Chief Judge and two Associate Judges. Additionally, the High Court and its Branch Courts have a Clerical Bureau, which is headed by a Chief Clerk who assists the President with administrative affairs.
Cases before the High Courts or its Branch Courts are heard and decided by a panel of three judges. However, one of the judges may conduct preparatory proceedings.
The Court has seven civil courts, each of which has one presiding judge and three judges to handle civil appeals of the second instance and counter-appeal cases under the system of collegial panels, but they do not deal with simple litigation. The Court has eleven criminal courts, each of which has one presiding judge and two or three judges to handle criminal appeals of the second instance and counter-appeal cases under the system of collegial panels as well as litigation of the first instance concerning civil strife, foreign aggression or violation of foreign relations. Based on various needs, the Court manages several professional courts such as the Professional Court of Fair Trade Cases, Family Professional Court, Professional Court of International Trade, Maritime Professional Court, Professional Court of State Compensation, Professional Court of Anti-corruption, Professional Court of Intellectual Property Rights, Professional Court of Juvenile Delinquency, Professional Court of Serious Criminal Cases, Professional Court of Public Security, Professional Court of Fair Trade Act, Professional Court of Sexual Harassment, etc.
There are currently 22 District Courts (Chinese: 地方法院; pinyin: Dìfāng Fǎyuàn) in the Taiwan Area (including Taiwan and part of Fujian):
Each District Court may establish one or more summary divisions for the adjudication of cases suitable for summary judgment. The civil summary procedure is for cases involving an amount in controversys of not more than 300,000 New Taiwan dollar and for simple legal disputes. Currently there are a total of 45 divisions in Taiwan. Additionally, there is a Taiwan Kaohsiung Juvenile Court, established in accordance with the Law Governing the Disposition of Juvenile Cases.
Each of the District Courts has civil, criminal and summary divisions and may establish specialized divisions to handle cases involving juveniles, family, traffic, and labor matters as well as motions to set aside rulings on violations of the Statute for the Maintenance of Social Order. Each division has a Division Chief Judge who supervises and assigns the business of the division. Each District Court has a Public Defenders' Office and a Probation Officers' Office.
A single judge hears and decides cases in ordinary and summary proceedings as well as in small claims cases. A panel of three judges decides cases of great importance in ordinary proceedings as well as appeals or interlocutory appeals from the summary and small claims proceedings. Criminal cases are decided by a panel of three judges, with the exception of summary proceedings which may be held by a single judge. The Juvenile Court hears and decides only cases involving juveniles.
The current administrative litigation system adopts a "Two Level Two Instance System" litigation procedure. The administrative courts are classified into the High Administrative Court, which is the court of first instance, and the Supreme Administrative Court, which is the appellate court. The first instance of the High Administrative Court is a trial of facts. The Supreme Administrative Court is an appellate court.
|Supreme Administrative Court||最高行政法院|
|Taipei High Administrative Court||臺北高等行政法院|
|Taichung High Administrative Court||臺中高等行政法院|
|Kaohsiung High Administrative Court||高雄高等行政法院|
|Tainan High Administrative Court (planned)||臺南高等行政法院（籌設中）|
The Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission (公務員懲戒委員會) maintains official discipline and punishes public servants, regardless of rank or appointment, for violations of the law or negligence in his or her duty in accordance with Article 77 of the Constitution.
Article 80 of the Constitution states that Judges shall be above partisanship and shall, in accordance with law, hold trials independently, free from any interference. Furthermore, Article 81 states that Judges shall hold office for life. No judge shall be removed from office unless he has been 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. Judges shall be appointed from those persons who have passed the Examination of Judicial Officials, completed the Training Course for Judicial Officials and possessed distinguished records after a term of practice.
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