To conform with the values of a democratic nation, Judicial Yuan officials said that they would establish an online platform to present profiles and basic information of all judges, and records of their decisions, so people can monitor their judicial power, enhancing trust in the justice system.
Lu Tai-lang (呂太郎), secretary-general of the Judicial Yuan and former head of the Judges Academy, on Wednesday said the decision was reached at the first internal meeting of the body, presided over by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力).
This Judicial Yuan policy reform follows a move by civic organization Judicial Reform Foundation in November last year, when they launched a Web site called Sunshine Justice.
The reform foundation Web site lists case records for nearly 3,000 judges and prosecutors, and includes their name, gender, law school training, court case history, relevant articles, along with awards and instances of misconduct or discipline.
Legal experts and reform foundation members yesterday said the Judicial Yuan’s initiative is the government’s version of the Sunshine Justice platform, adding that it is the first substantive measure the judicial body has taken toward transparency and genuine reform.
“Hsu pushed for this measure. He said that a democratic nation should have the appropriate public information on judges and their handling of court cases, and the database is to be made available online on the Judicial Yuan’s official Web site for public access,” Lu said.
However, photographs of judges would not be published, Lu said, as that would be a violation of the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法).
In recent years, there have been cases of suspects involved in major criminal cases attending all the court trials presided over by the judge appointed to their cases, which led to security concerns and intimidation of judges, Lu said.
Lu said the online database would be launched later this year and is to list the judges, court presidents, top officials and section chiefs of various judicial bodies.
However, records regarding recognition, misconduct or discipline would not be included, “because if a judge was remiss or there was an oversight in a ruling or interpretation of the law, they would have been disciplined and held responsible. If such records are accessible on the database, we believe it would be unfair to these judges,” Lu said.
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