Lawmakers Pass Citizen Judge Bill|國民法官法今三讀通過 國民法官2023上路

M. Chuang
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Citizens will be able to participate in criminal trials starting in 2023 as the relevant bill has finally passed its third reading after a 30-hour heated debate in the Legislative Yuan. For applicable cases, there will be three professional judges and six randomly-selected citizen judges. A ruling will require a two-thirds majority.

Lawmakers have passed the third reading of the Act of Citizen Participation of Criminal Judgment, which will go into effect in 2023. In applicable cases, including cases with at least a 10-year sentence or involuntary manslaughter cases, rulings will be handed down by three professional judges and six citizen judges over the age of 23. A ruling, including the death penalty, will be carried by a two-thirds majority. Citizen judges will be selected by random draw and employers must give them time off. Citizen judges' identities will be protected.

The ruling party has to shoulder the responsibility of consequences. To protect the rights of people involved in civil suits and make sure their rights are appropriately taken care of, we have decided to move forward with a more conservative approach.

Why can citizen judges only participate in cases involving a crime with a sentence of at least 10 years? Everyone knows that Taiwanese society has been after civil participation in criminal judgment for a very long time. They don't just want to participate in 5-600 cases (a year).

The Democratic Progressive Party and New Power Party caucuses supported the bill, while the Taiwan People's Party blasted the DPP for rashly forcing it through and damaging the quality of Taiwan's legislative system.

The DPP and Judicial Yuan accept parallel systems. Why in judicial reforms and national trust -- these are important cores. However, we were unable to convince them and unable to get the support of the committee members of other political parties.

Judicial reform groups held a silent sit-in outside the legislature and blasted the DPP for ignoring public sentiment and forgoing even a mixed-court trial period.

The DPP is dishonest and acting against public opinion. We condemn them for this.

During a press conference, Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li called the passage a "historic reform" in Taiwan's judicial history and said civil participation in criminal judgment is what the people want.

In future lawsuits, files and evidence will no longer be sent to the court. Judges will not be able to access evidence until the ruling.

Asked about the problem of insufficient legal knowledge, Hsu said the courts will be asked to avoid using legal terms and legalese so that "civil judges" can understand what is going on. At the same time, the court will ensure the lives and safety of the judges are protected. In addition, a Judicial Yuan assessment committee will start meeting annually to evaluate the system starting from the sixth year of promulgation.


民進黨團書記長 鍾佳濱表示:「執政黨要承擔所有的責任。因此,為了確保人民在司法訴訟當中,權益都受到妥善的照顧,因此,我們選擇一個比較審慎的方式來推動。」

時代力量立委 邱顯智表示:「為什麼要在10年以上有期徒刑之罪,才能夠適用?事實上,大家非常清楚,台灣民間追求人民參與審判的欲求,未曾停歇。那也不可能說僅僅是希望說,這5、600件的案件,能夠適用。」


民眾黨團總召 賴香伶表示:「民進黨或是司法院接受兩制併行,為什麼在司法的改革,跟司法的這個國人信任裡面,是重要的核心。但我們沒有辦法說服他們?也沒有辦法獲得,其他多數政黨委員的支持?」


司改會董事長 林永頌表示:「我們對於民進黨悖乎黨綱、悖乎誠信、悖乎民意,這樣的一個行為,我們加以譴責。」


司法院院長 許宗力表示:「未來起訴的時候,將不再把卷宗、證物一併送交法院,直到裁判的時候,法官才會接觸到證據內容。」