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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.[1]

Its Justices of the Constitutional Court (大法官會議, literally ‘Council of Grand Justices’), with 15 members,[2] is charged with interpreting the Constitution.[1] 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.[2]

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.[1]

According to Articles 77 and 78 of the Constitution of the Republic of China,[1] Article 5 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution,[2] Articles 30, 43, and 75 of the Local Government Systems Act, the major functions of the Judicial Yuan are as follows:[3]

Justices of the Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of China consists of 15 justices.
The Judicial Yuan Building in Taipei houses the Constitutional Court.

The Justices of the Constitutional Court (also known as the Council of Grand Justices) provides rulings on the following four categories of cases:

  1. Interpretation of the Constitution;
  2. Uniform Interpretation of Statutes and Regulations;
  3. Impeachment of President and Vice President of the Republic of China; and
  4. Declaring the dissolution of political parties in violation of the Constitution.[1][2]

A petition for an interpretation of the Constitution shall be filed in the following circumstances:[3]

List of Justices of the Constitutional Court

The Justices are:[4]

Ordinary courts

Supreme Court

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:

High Courts

Tainan High Court

There are six High Court (Chinese: 高等法院; pinyin: Gāoděng Fǎyuàn) branches in the Taiwan Area (including Taiwan and part of Fujian):

No. Name Chinese
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:[5]

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.[5]

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.[5]

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.[5]

District Courts

Hualien District Court

There are currently 22 District Courts (Chinese: 地方法院; pinyin: Dìfāng Fǎyuàn) in the Taiwan Area (including Taiwan and part of Fujian):[6]

No. Name Chinese No. Name Chinese No. Name Chinese
1 Changhua 臺灣彰化地方法院 9 Lienchiang 福建連江地方法院 17 Tainan 臺灣臺南地方法院
2 Chiayi 臺灣嘉義地方法院 10 Miaoli 臺灣苗栗地方法院 18 Taipei 臺灣臺北地方法院
3 Ciaotou 臺灣橋頭地方法院 11 Nantou 臺灣南投地方法院 19 Taitung 臺灣臺東地方法院
4 Hsinchu 臺灣新竹地方法院 12 New Taipei 臺灣新北地方法院 20 Taoyuan 臺灣桃園地方法院
5 Hualien 臺灣花蓮地方法院 13 Penghu 臺灣澎湖地方法院 21 Yilan 臺灣宜蘭地方法院
6 Kaohsiung 臺灣高雄地方法院 14 Pingtung 臺灣屏東地方法院 22 Yunlin 臺灣雲林地方法院
7 Keelung 臺灣基隆地方法院 15 Shilin 臺灣士林地方法院
8 Kinmen 福建金門地方法院 16 Taichung 臺灣臺中地方法院

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.[6] Currently there are a total of 45 divisions in Taiwan.[6] Additionally, there is a Taiwan Kaohsiung Juvenile Court, established in accordance with the Law Governing the Disposition of Juvenile Cases.[6]

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.[6] 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.[6]

A single judge hears and decides cases in ordinary and summary proceedings as well as in small claims cases.[6] 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.[6] Criminal cases are decided by a panel of three judges, with the exception of summary proceedings which may be held by a single judge.[6] The Juvenile Court hears and decides only cases involving juveniles.[6]

Administrative Courts

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.

Name Chinese
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)

Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission

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.[1] Furthermore, Article 81 states that Judges shall hold office for life.[1] 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.[1] No judge shall, except in accordance with law, be suspended or transferred or have his salary reduced.[1] 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.[3]

List of Presidents of the Judicial Yuan

Hsu Tzong-li, the incumbent President of Judicial Yuan.

Pre-1947 Constitution Ratification

  1. Wang Ch'ung-hui (8 October 1928 – 6 January 1932)
  2. Ju Zheng (7 January 1932 – 1 July 1948)

Post-1947 Constitution Ratification

  1. Wang Ch'ung-hui (2 July 1948 – 15 March 1958)
  2. Hsieh Kuan-sheng (14 June 1958 – 29 November 1971)
  3. Tien Chung-chin (1 December 1971 – 30 March 1977)
  4. Tai Yen-hui (戴炎輝) (20 April 1977 – 1 July 1979)
  5. Huang Shao-ku (1 July 1979 – 1 May 1987)
  6. Lin Yang-kang (1 May 1987 – 18 August 1994)
  7. Shih Chi-yang (18 August 1994 – 25 January 1999)
    • Lu Yu-wen (25 January 1999 – 1 February 1999) acting
  8. Weng Yueh-sheng (1 February 1999 – 1 October 2007)
  9. Lai In-jaw (1 October 2007 – 18 July 2010)
  10. Rai Hau-min (13 October 2010 – 1 November 2016)
  11. Hsu Tzong-li (since 1 November 2016)

List of Vice Presidents of the Judicial Yuan

Pre-1947 Constitution Ratification

Post-1947 Constitution Ratification

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i See ZHONGHUA MINGUO XIANFA (Constitution of the Republic of China) (Taiwan) arts. 77-82, available at http://www.judicial.gov.tw/constitutionalcourt/EN/p07_2.asp?lawno=36 (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)
  2. ^ a b c d See ZHONGHUA MINGUO XIANFA ZHENGXIU TIAOWEN (The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China) (Taiwan) art. 5, available at http://www.judicial.gov.tw/constitutionalcourt/EN/p07_2.asp?lawno=98 (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n See Structure and Functions of the Judicial Yuan, available at http://www.judicial.gov.tw/en/english/aboutus/aboutus04/aboutus04-03.asp (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)
  4. ^ See Justices of the Constitutional Court, available at http://www.judicial.gov.tw/constitutionalcourt/EN/p01_03.asp (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)
  5. ^ a b c d See, Taiwan High Court, available athttp://tph.judicial.gov.tw/en/default.htm (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j See, Taipei District Court, About Us - Organization,http://tpd.judicial.gov.tw/indexen.asp?struID=52&navID=53&contentID=125 (last visited Mar. 28, 2012)

External links

Coordinates: 25°02′16″N 121°30′44″E / 25.0379°N 121.5121°E / 25.0379; 121.5121