Tue, Jun 28, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Reform of the judiciary is needed

By Lin Feng-jeng 林峰正

However, a full half of the number of external members in the two aforementioned bodies are to be nominated by the Judicial Yuan, with the final say being handed to the Judicial Yuan president. This confounds the point of having external, unaffiliated members present. What started out as a sound principle has been thrown off course and it is once again business as usual. What I find really unacceptable is that during the negotiations for this law, the Judicial Yuan was unwilling to budge on the issue of the establishment of an external disciplinary mechanism, absolutely insistent that the final decision on the discipline of judges remain in the hands of judges. It was unwilling to give even an inch.

During the recent passage of the third reading of the Judges’ Act, it refused to end the practice of selecting judges through examinations or to differentiate between judges and public prosecutors, such that the act also applies to the latter. These pressing issues, central to the much-needed judicial reform, have once again been shoved onto the back burner. An opportunity has been missed. The public should be aware of the fact that these issues are ticking time bombs, not unlike the plasticizer scare, that are very likely to blow up in our faces some time in the future.

All in all, the final version of the Judges’ Act does little more than peek out of the halfway house it has been holed up in for some time, a half-baked piece of legislation precariously tottering on the starting line of reform. There is still so much to do.

Lin Feng-jeng is a lawyer and executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation.

TRANSLATED BY PAUL COOPER

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