Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Subcommittee calls for independent evaluation and removal of judges

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Convener of the national affairs conference’s third sub-committee Chiu Hei-yuan, center, and Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san, back right, attend a national affairs conference meeting on judicial reform in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Huang Hsin-po, Taipei Times

A subcommittee of the national conference on judicial reform on Wednesday voted in favor of a motion to establish an independent evaluation mechanism with the authority to assess the performance of judges and remove unsuitable judges from courts.

Legal practitioners and members of the public have long expressed their concern over the perceived high number of so-called “dinosaur” judges in the nation’s judicial system.

Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源), a sociologist at Academia Sinica, presided over the subcommittee meeting, during which members deliberated on the suggestion to establish an independent mechanism to evaluate judges and to find ways to remove “dinosaur” judges.

Yu Po-hsiang (尤伯祥), a defense lawyer for Sunflower movement activists, said that people who want to file an official complaint against a judge “have to go through the lawyers’ bar association, or through the Judicial Reform Foundation. If there are grounds for a valid case, then it is a protracted process, in which it is filed with the Judicial Evaluation Committee, which is under the Judicial Yuan.”

Kao Jung-chih (高榮志), the foundation’s representative on the subcommittee, said people have the right to a fair trial and the right to appeal perceived injustices or improper conduct by judges, but they cannot file such cases themselves, as the system deprives them of that right.

Kao had said in previous meetings that the Judicial Evaluation Committee has failed its mandate, adding that instead of serving the public, the committee serves to protect “dinosaur” judges, as most of its members have professional ties and came from the judiciary or legal practice circles.

“If someone could file for evaluation against a judge while a litigation was in progress, then the case would drag on for much longer. There is the likelihood of people abusing such a process,” Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said, voicing his opposition to the proposal.

Law professor Lin Yu-hsiung (林鈺雄) said he is also against the proposal.

“Only a few nations allow people to directly intervene in the judiciary or file complaints and request for an evaluation of judges. If we want people to trust the judicial system, then we should respect the evaluation results,” Lin said.

Chiu Hei-yuan, who is also the subcommittee convenor, called for a vote on whether to allow people to directly file for complaints against judges and whether to establish an independent evaluation committee with its own budget.

The proposal’s supporters won with 11 votes against nine.

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