Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Law change creates ‘grand chambers’

REOCCURRING ISSUE:The nation’s highest courts are to create such chambers to reduce the number of cases in which courts at different levels hand down contradictory verdicts

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A crowd is reflected in the doorplate of the Supreme Court in Taipei on Aug. 16.

Photo: CNA

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Court Organic Act (法院組織法) and the Administrative Court Organization Act (行政法院組織法), making way for the establishment of collegiate grand chambers to resolve a recurring issue of courts at different levels issuing conflicting rulings in a case.

The amendments stipulate that the Supreme Court is to assemble a civil grand chamber and a criminal grand chamber of 11 judges each, while the Supreme Administrative Court is to have a grand chamber comprised of nine judges, with the chief justice of each court serving as the presiding judge of their respective chambers.

To ensure fairness in judgements by the grand chambers, the number of division chief judges doubling as chamber judges must not exceed half of each chamber’s makeup, one amendment says.

Should the legal basis invoked by either court contradict that cited by a high court, resulting in contradictory rulings on a case, the superior court should address the dispute by submitting a request for the corresponding grand chamber to state its opinions, the amendments say.

That grand chamber must issue a ruling on a dispute within 30 days, the amendments say, adding that while the grand chamber’s verdict is not the final ruling in a case, it should serve as the basis on which the presiding court must base its final verdict.

Recognizing that litigants have the most crucial role in a lawsuit, the amendments afford them the right to request that the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court exercise its authority to file an arbitration motion with a grand chamber.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米), cochair of the legislature’s Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, said that the amendments are expected to lower the occurrence of courts passing down conflicting rulings, which she called a much maligned issue that has plagued the nation’s judiciary.

Additional reporting by Peng Wan-hsin

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