The petitioner in this case argued, briefly, that he leased farmland from the lessor Ji-shen Yeh. In the process of completing the 375 leasing agreement, the Yang-mei Township Administrative Office of Taiwan Province erroneously recorded the lessor of two parcels of land as Ji-rei Yeh, and failed to record the remaining three parcels of land. Because Ji-shen Yeh had already passed away and it was impossible to correct the errors jointly, the petitioner filed a unilateral petition to that Administrative Office but to no avail. The petitioner then filed an administrative appeal, re-appeal and the Administrative Court eventually dismissed the case in (66) Pan Tze No. 17 Judgment. The petitioner then filed a motion for a retrial on the ground that the judgment was "clearly erroneous in the application of law," but the same court dismissed the motion in (66) Tsai Tze No. 99 Judgment. The petitioner again moved for a retrial on the ground of "inapplicable law." Following the Precedent of (46) Tsai Tze No. 41 of the Administrative Court, the Administrative Court again dismissed the petitioner*s motion in its (66) Tsai Tze No. 159 Judgment. The petitioner then requested an interpretation in accordance with Article 4, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 2, of the Grand Justices Council Adjudication Act on the ground that [the judgments] interfered with the petitioner*s right to litigate and contradicted Article 16 of the Constitution.
The applicable "laws or regulations" concerning the finality of the judgment, in accordance with Article 4, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph, of the Grand Justices Council Adjudication Act, means the laws or regulations or their equivalents based on which the finality of the judgment is rendered. Furthermore, Article 25 of the Court Organic Act provides, "[if] a chamber of the Supreme Court should render legal opinions that differ from existing legal precedents, the President shall submit [the case] to the President of the Judicial Yuan who in turn shall call forth the Conference of the Alteration of Judicial Precedents to determine [the outcome of the opinion]." Article 24 of the Directives for the Operational Procedure of Administrative Court [also] provides, "[if] a chamber renders different legal opinions from existing legal precedents, the President shall submit [the case] to the President of the Judicial Yuan who in turn shall call forth the Conference of the Alteration of Judicial Precedents to determine [the outcome of the opinion] " (Currently Article 38, Paragraph 1). Suffice it to say that barring the modification or alteration process, the legal precedents of the Supreme Court and Administrative Court shall have binding effect and can be the bases for courts at all levels in rendering their respective judgments. Article 4, Paragraph 1, Section 2, of the Grand Justices Council Adjudication Act is applicable if and when the issue of constitutionality is present so that the rights of the people can be maintained.
The right to litigate, as indicated in Article 16 of the Constitution, is a judicial entitlement of the people, which refers to the right of the people to file suits or complaints when their rights are infringed upon and the courts are obligated to review and render judgments in accordance with the law. However, such rights may be restricted in accordance with Article 23 of the Constitution if it is necessary to prevent infringement upon the freedoms of other persons, to avert an imminent crisis, to maintain social order or to advance public welfare. Once a judgment is finalized, all parties must abide by the ruling that may not be easily altered or modified. Consequently, the grounds for a retrial are limited to those expressly provided by statutes. The Precedent of (46) Tsai Tze No. 41 of the Administrative Court, "once the petition for a retrial is denied, the petitioner in the administrative litigation may not petition for another retrial based on that same denial," is meant to deal with the situation in which a party petitions for a retrial over the initial retrial judgment because the latter was unlawful and in violation of the Administrative Proceedings Act. The purpose is to prevent abuse of litigation, which does not interfere with the proper administration of the right to litigate and, therefore, does not violate the Constitution.
*Translated and edited by Professor Andy Y. Sun.