In cases such as these, it will in future be possible for the grand panel of the Supreme Court to judge them and make unified and constitutional interpretations of the laws involved. Only in situations where there is no longer any room for constitutional interpretations of the laws involved will the grand justices be called upon to conduct a judicial review of the laws.
In other words, the grand panel of the Supreme Court will become the most important forum for debate about how to interpret the law constitutionally. That is quite different from what the grand justices do, which is to make abstract interpretations as to whether laws are unconstitutional, unconstrained by the details of individual cases.
To sum up, the grand justices and the future grand panel of the Supreme Court will have different and separate powers and duties, and their functions will not overlap. This is an important matter to take into consideration when seeking to understand the policy of establishing grand panels in the Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court.
Henry Tsai is a judge at the Taiwan Shilin District Court.
Translated by Julian Clegg