Wed, Aug 15, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Arbitrators praised for reducing number of pending hearings

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday confirmed that efforts are being made by the nation's arbitrators to reduce the number of cases pending in the courts.

"Their contribution has helped relieve the workload of judges and has stopped a lot of arguments before they escalated," Chang said.

The premier made his remarks while rewarding 107 arbitrators from local governments yesterday morning for their excellent work. They were selected by their supervisors and recommended by district courts.

Chan said he began to understand the importance of arbitrators while he was a lawyer between 1962 and 1983.

"Arbitrators help people solve problems, arguments or sticky situations. They help potential plaintiffs and defendants before their case actually goes to court and they become plaintiffs and defendants," Chang said. "This position is very important to our justice system."

Chang said during the ceremony that to be an arbitrator, the candidate must love to help people, must try to create a win-win situation for both parties and stay neutral at all times.

"It looks easy, but actually it is not," Chang said.

By law, heads of townships, cities or wardens select between seven to 25 citizens with expertise in law or related subjects as candidates for arbitrator positions every four years. These candidates then undergo evaluation and review by district courts and prosecutors' offices.

An arbitrator meeting can be regarded as a "pre-hearing." If a case is not closed within two months, the case will be automatically submitted to a district court for trial.

If a case is closed, an arbitrator will then submit the result to the district court within 10 days. These cases, usually minor, are not allowed to go to appeal.

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