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About the Court

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About the Court
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The Constitutional Court of R.O.C.(Taiwan) (hereinafter the Taiwan Constitutional Court, or the TCC) is composed of the Justices of the Judicial Yuan (hereinafter the Justices). For over seventy years, the Justices have played a significant role in protecting human rights and facilitating constitutional development. Paralleling the enactment and amendment of the Constitution, the legal instrument governing constitutional review has seen continuing evolution: (1) the Rules of the Council of Grand Justices of 1948, (2) the Council of Grand Justices Act of 1958, (3) the Constitutional Court Interpretation Act of 1993, and (4) the current Constitutional Court Procedure Act, which came into effect on January 4, 2022. With the latest change, this Act renames the Council of Grand Justices to the “Constitutional Court” as a full-fledged judicial body. Under the Constitutional Court Procedure Act, the Justices sit as the Constitutional Court in the adjudication of cases laid down by the Constitution and legislation.


In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (hereinafter the ROC Constitution) and the Additional Articles of the ROC Constitution (hereinafter the Additional Articles), the Justices exercise jurisdiction in four situations:
◆ Interpretation of the Constitution (including the ROC Constitution and the Additional Articles)
◆ Uniform interpretation of statutes and regulations
◆ Impeachment of the President and the Vice President
◆ Dissolution of unconstitutional political parties


The jurisdiction of the Justices referred to above has evolved through the following three periods:

I. The ROC Constitution of 1947 provides that the Justices have the authority over the interpretation of the Constitution and the uniform interpretation of statutes and regulations.

The ROC Constitution was promulgated on January 1, 1947 and went into effect on December 25 of the same year. According to Articles 78 and 79 of the ROC Constitution, the Justices were nominated by the President, confirmed by the Congress and vested with the power to interpret the Constitution and to unify the interpretations of statutes and regulations. This marked the instituting of constitutional review. 

Following the coming into effect of the ROC Constitution, the Judicial Yuan was reformed and formally established on July 1, 1948. The Justices took office in July and held the first meeting on September 15 of the same year. Since then, the Justices have continued to exercise their powers to interpret the Constitution and unify the interpretations of statutes and regulations.  

In the exercise of these two powers, the Justices sat as the Council of Grand Justices and made decisions collegially. The Justices were only tasked with the duties of interpreting the Constitution and unifying the interpretations of statutes and regulations until the expansion of the Justices’ jurisdiction in 1992 during the Fifth Council of Grand Justices (1985-94).


II. The Additional Articles of 1992 further invests the then Council of Grand Justices – with jurisdiction over the dissolution of unconstitutional political parties.

As part of the second constitutional revision in 1992, the then Article 13, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Additional Articles provided that a political party whose goals or activities endanger the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan) or the constitutional order of liberal democracy is unconstitutional. It further provided that cases concerning the dissolution of an unconstitutional political party be decided by the Justices sitting as the Constitutional Court. 

Since then, in addition to interpretation of the Constitution and uniform interpretation of statutes and regulations, the Justices have been tasked with the responsibility of sitting as the Constitutional Court in respect of cases concerning the dissolution of unconstitutional political parties. The creation of the Constitutional Court marked a major change of the institution of constitutional review in Taiwan. The importance of the Justices’ function in preserving the constitutional order has thus increased. 
 
(Article 13, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Additional Articles of 1992 has been reorganized as Article 5, Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Additional Articles since the fourth constitutional revision in 1997.)

III. Since 2005, the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court has been further expanded to include the trial of the impeachment of the President and the Vice President.

The Justices’ power increased again as a result of the seventh constitutional revision in 2005. Article 5, Paragraph 4 of the Additional Articles provides that the trial of the impeachment of the President and the Vice President be heard and decided by the Justices sitting as the Constitutional Court.

The Justices exercise their powers in accordance with the aforementioned provisions of the ROC Constitution and the Additional Articles. The legal instrument governing constitutional review has undergone several changes: from the Rules of the Council of Grand Justices of 1948 to the Council of Grand Justices Act of 1958 to the Constitutional Court Interpretation Act of 1993. Under the Constitutional Court Interpretation Act, the Justices decided cases in a collegial model while they would sit as the Constitutional Court to adjudicate on the dissolution of unconstitutional political parties. Promulgated by President on January 4, 2019, the Constitutional Court Procedure Act, which is a revision of the Constitutional Court Interpretation Act, came into effect on January 4, 2022. Under the Constitutional Court Procedure Act, the Justices sit as the Constitutional Court to decide the cases below:

(1) abstract review of the constitutionality of statutes and regulations;
(2) constitutional complaint against the final court decisions; 
(3) disputes between constitutional organs;
(4) impeachment against the President and/or the Vice President;
(5) dissolution of unconstitutional political parties;
(6) protection of local self-governments ; and
(7) uniform interpretation of statutes and regulations.


When other legislation provides for petitions to the Judicial Yuan for interpretation, such petitions shall comply with the relevant procedural provisions governing constitutional interpretation or those governing uniform interpretation of statutes and regulations, where appropriate.


 

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