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The TCC delivers its Judgment 113-Hsien-Pan-2 (2024)


    TAIPEI, March 21, 2024 — The Taiwan Constitutional Court (TCC) delivered its Judgment of the "Case on Life Sentence Prisoners Serving Remaining Sentence after Revocation of Parole" on March 15, 2024.


Principal Facts, Issues, and Procedure of the Case

    Given the rise of the recidivism rate of parolees, legislators amended Article 77 of the Criminal Code, raising the parole-eligible minimum term for life sentences to 15 years (20 years for recidivists) in 1997. The legislators also added Paragraph 5, Article 79-1 of the Criminal Code, stipulating that once the paroles of life sentence parolees were revoked, they have to serve a fixed remaining sentence of 20 years, which should be discounted from the calculation for the next eligible parole date. The paragraph applies to parole revocations after the 1997 amendment. Said provisions were further amended in 2005 (implemented on July 1, 2006), raising both the length of the parole-eligible minimum term and fixed remaining sentence for life prisoners to 25 years. The parolee has to serve a 25-year fixed remaining sentence without parole. In other words, the prisoner who started serving their sentence in 2006 must serve imprisonment until 2031 before starting serving a new sentence. After that, they must serve half of the new sentence before being eligible for parole. 

    There were 36 consolidated petitions filed by 35 people and the Supreme Court Criminal Panel No.1. The petitions all concern criminal cases in which the petitioners (or the involved parties) were granted parole for their life sentence but got their parole revoked and had to serve the remaining 20-year or 25-year sentences. The petitioners argued that both amendments of Paragraph 5, Article 79-1 of the Criminal Code (the 1997 and 2005 versions) and the pertaining Paragraph 2, Article 7-1 and Paragraph 2, Article 7-2 of the Enforcement Law of the Criminal Code are hard for the people to comprehend and foresee, thus violating the principle of clarity of law. They also contend that the provisions did not distinguish the reasons for revocation and stipulated all the revoked parolees to serve 20 or 25 years of remaining sentences, consequently violating the principle of proportionality. 

    This case was argued on December 19, 2023. Judgment 113-Hsien-Pan-2 (2024) was announced on March 15, 2024. Justice Jui-Ming HUANG wrote this Judgement. Justice Tsai-Chen TSAI recused herself from this case. Three concurring opinions, one opinion dissenting and concurring in part, and three opinions dissenting in part were filed.  


Decision of the Court

    The TCC declared Paragraph 5, Article 79-1 of the Criminal Code (both the 1997 and 2005 versions) unconstitutional for violating the principle of proportionality and personal freedom under Article 8 of the Constitution. The TCC pointed out that the provisions provide only a fixed remaining sentence of 20 years and 25 years for all revoked parole cases, failing to regard that there may be circumstances that require differentiation in terms of serving the rest of the sentences. Within this scope, the provisions are unconstitutional and should cease to be effective after a two-year grace period.

    The TCC ruled that the provisions should be amended within two years. If the amendment was past due, competent authority should enforce the remaining sentence as provided in this Judgment, instead of enforcing a fixed term of 20 or 25 years in cases concerning the revocation of parole. 

    The TCC quashed the final court decisions of Petitioners V, XXII-XXVIII, XXXI-XXXV and remitted their cases to the Supreme Court. The TCC further ruled that the Supreme Court should suspend proceedings before the amendment. The Prosecutor General may file an extraordinary appeal for other similar cases on its own or upon petition. 

    For petitioners who lodged interlocutory appeals toward the prosecutor's enforcement order after this Judgment or are mid-way in their interlocutory appeals, the TCC ruled that courts should suspend proceedings before the amendment. If the amendment was past due, the courts should carry out their decisions following this Judgment. 

    TCC also ruled that prisoners who are serving their remaining sentences under Article 79-1, Paragraph 5 of the Criminal Code should be deemed to have completed their term of imprisonment, or have begun serving their newly imposed sentence if the length of time they have served exceeded the applicable remaining sentence per this Judgment. In this situation, there should be no ensuing criminal compensations, state compensations, or reduction of sentences for the recidivate crime. 

    The TCC also ruled that Paragraph 2, Article 7-1 and Paragraph 2, Article 7-2 of the Enforcement Law of the Criminal Code do not violate the principle of lex retro non agit (non-retrospective effect of law) and the protection of legitimate expectations (Vertrauensschutz).



  1. Full texts of the Judgment and Opinions are available on the TCC website here  (Traditional Chinese). An English summary of this Judgment will be available later on the TCC English website.
  2. The TCC's Case News is prepared by the Department of Clerks for the Constitutional Court (Judicial Yuan) for information only and does not bind the Court. 
  3. In case of any conflict of meaning between the Traditional Chinese version and the translated English version, the Traditional Chinese version shall prevail. 



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