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Organization of High Courts

Currently, there is one High Court in the Taiwan area with four branch courts in Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Hualien (and the Hualien branch has a branch in Taitung). In the Fuchien area, there is a Kinmen Branch Court of the Fuchien High Court. The High Courts and its branches exercise jurisdiction over the following cases in the Taiwan and Kinmen-Matsu areas respectively:

  1. Appeals from judgments of the District Courts or their branches as courts of the first instance in ordinary proceedings of civil and criminal cases;
  2. Interlocutory appeals from rulings of the District Courts or their branches in ordinary proceedings;
  3. First instance criminal cases relating to rebellion, treason, and offenses against friendly relations with foreign states;
  4. Military appellate cases whose judgments are imprisonment for a definite period rendered by the High Military Courts and their branches; and
  5. Other cases prescribed by law.

The High Courts and every branch thereof have one judge who serves concurrently as President of the Court and the Branch Courts. The President is in charge of the administrative affairs of the entire Court and supervises the administrative affairs of its subordinate courts.

The High Courts and its Branch Courts are divided into civil, criminal and specialized divisions dealing with juvenile traffic, public security election labor trademark, patent copyright corruption, state compensation, sexual violations and fair trade cases as well as significant economic crimes and other extraordinary criminal cases. Each Division is comprised of one Division Chief Judge and two Associate Judges. The Division Chief Judge supervises and assigns the business of his or her own division. Additionally, the High Court and its Branch Courts have a Clerical Bureau, which is headed by a Chief Clerk who assists the President with administrative affairs. The Clerical Bureau is divided into the Document, Civil Recording, Criminal Recording, Specialized Division Recording, General Affairs, Research and Evaluation, Data and Legal Assistance Sections as well as a Judicial Police Office. The High Courts and its Branch Courts also have Personnel Government Ethics, Accounting, Statistics, and Information Offices.

Cases before the High Courts or its Branch Courts are heard and decided by a panel of three judges. However, one of the judges may conduct preparatory proceedings.

Departments of High Courts

With a president to take charge of Court affairs, the Court is divided into two parts: Judgment and Administration, each of which is flanked by the following units and with the following responsibilities:

I. Judgment

  1. The Civil Court and the Criminal Court conduct the appeal to the second instance of the civil or criminal case and the counter-appeal case under the system of collegial panels.
  2. One assistant presiding judge assists the president in studying and reading the documents of the civil or criminal cases.
  3. Two public defenders support defendants in specific cases of compulsory vindication.

II. Administration

  1. Secretariat:

    This has one chief secretary to assist the president in handling general administration affairs. The Civil Records Section, Criminal Records Section, Documentation Section, General Affairs Section, Research and Evaluation Section, Litigation Counseling Section and Bailiff Office are located within it. They are in charge of judgment records, documents, general affairs, financial affairs, research and evaluation of work management and affairs, litigation assistance, prisoner control and protection as well as safekeeping respectively.

  2. Personnel Office:

    This is responsible for appointing and dismissal and transfer of officials, rewards and punishment, assessments, evaluation of achievements, retirements, compensation, salaries, training, holiday and business trip management, personnel files management as well as matters concerning the material benefits of personnel, civil servant insurance, health insurance, cooperation and activities.

  3. Civil Service Ethics Office:

    This is responsible for enactment and popularization of the civil service ethics regulations and rules, anti-corruption, prosecution affairs, suggestions on civil service ethics, assessments, rewards and punishment, protection of confidential affairs, property declarations and the other matters concerning civil service ethics.

  4. Accounting Office:

    This is responsible for the arrangement of general estimates, budget and final accounts, approved budgetary distribution and projects, control of financial income and expenses, management of judicatory income, control of legal fees as well as for suggestions to enhance financial power and lower expenses.

  5. Statistics Office:

    This is responsible for judicatory statistical affairs.

  6. Information Management Office:

    This is responsible for the management and maintenance of the computers and network systems in the Court, installation of the applied systems, management of the operational documents and maintenance of files. It is the advice center for problems with computers in the Court.

Trial Affairs of High Courts

  1. Independent Jurisdiction:

    As specified in Article 80 of the Constitution, the judge should independently carry out trials in accordance with legislation, and should not be confined to judicial administration orders in relation to the legal views on the judgment. Therefore, it is legal for the judge to carry out his duties and wield his power without any interference.

  2. The Uniform of Legal Personnel Responsible for Trials:

    When handling a case in court, chief justices, judges, public defenders, secretaries, prosecutors and counsels have different uniforms as follows:

  3. Trial Affairs

Customer Service of High Courts

I. Customer Service Desk

The Customer Service Desk is seated in a conspicuous place in the middle of the First Floor Lobby with an area of 179.8347m2, dealing with indictment distribution and receiving, charge collection, issuance of traveling subsidies for witnesses, litigation assistance and the reading of records by lawyers, etc.

Service Items:

  1. Litigation Assistance:

    Only offers litigation assistance on procedures. Does not offer litigation assistance for matters concerning substantial litigations or law.

    Scope:

    (a) Offers advice on procedures of appeals, applications to prosecutors for appeals and counter-appeals, as well as applications for retrials.

    (b) Offers advice on paying legal fees.

    (c) Offers advice on registering, submitting indictments, applying for fixing dates, extending periods or changing legal service offices.

    (d) Answers parties・ inquiries about the proceedings of the case and the court verdict. The parties can get information on the court day and the court verdict by inputting the case number into the touch-screen computer, or obtain the case number, the court day and the court verdict by sending in a written inquiry to the service.

    (e) Offers advice on refunding bail, returning stolen articles or money and other expenses set forth in the regulations.

    (f) Offer advice on procedures for seeking a guarantor, canceling detentions, pursuit and custody.

    (g) Offer advice on reading files and records.

    (h) Documents Assistance.

    If the parties do not know how to write an indictment similar to the model, the staff can write it for them without charge. The Court provides the parties with models of common indictments for free.

    (i) Offers advice on applying for the original copy of the court verdict, the certificate of the judgment confirmation and other service notices.

    (j) Gives public legal assistance

    Please refer to legal matters concerning the substantial litigations or law to the Public Law Service Department of the Taichung Bar Association, which is open from 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and handles registrations from 2:00 p.m. Please bring your ID card, identity documents and relevant documents. The Association is open to inquiries from people calling in person: it does not answer telephone inquiries.

    (k) Sells and photocopies judicial complaint forms

    Please buy the judicial complaint forms for court indictments from the staff. Please refer the documents to be copied to the staff.

    (l) Replies to inquiries about the procedures of non-litigation cases.

  2. Receiving and Dispatching:

    Receives indictments and various letters and postal matters, and dispatches documents.

  3. Collecting Fees, Disbursing Travel Expenses for Witnesses and Refunding Bail:

    (a) The third instance of a civil action shall be charged trial fees, but retrials shall be exempt from trial fees. The party who has withdrawn his or her appeal or counter-appeal should apply for refund of one half (Have I got this correct?) of the paid trial fee. The party who has reached a settlement should apply for refund of one half of the paid trial fee within three months of the date of reaching the settlement.

    (b) If a witness in a civil or criminal case testifies in court punctually, he or she can put in a claim for traveling expenses as a witness from the Customer Service Desk after filling in a claim form signed and issued by the judge and the secretary of the court.

    (c) For the criminal cases with bail paid, if the accused is declared to be innocent, or exempt from accusation and punishment or has had the execution of a sentence temporarily suspended, the Court should handle the paid bail in accordance with the following procedures: for those who have paid bail to the Court, the Court will inform the original payer through the written notice to come to the cashier of the Customer Service Desk with his or her ID card, seal and (verb missing?) the bail receipt to reclaim bail; for those who have paid bail to a local court, the Court will inform the local court or prosecutors・ office which has accepted the bail through a written notice to refund the bail and inform the original payer in the form of a copy.

II. Popularization Materials

In order to give the parties・ a broad perspective on the proceedings, the Customer Service Desk provides the public with a wide range of materials on the law.

III. Other Customer Services

  1. The Court Display

    The digital displays are installed on top of the door of the court and in the parties・, the lawyers・ and the judges・ lounges, showing the case number of the trial in progress so that the parties, lawyers, attorneys or other concerned parties can follow the proceedings. This ensures the court will be in session in a punctual manner unless the parties are late.

  2. The Parties' Lounge

    The Customer Service Desk and the court areas on the first, second and third floors are equipped with parties・ lounges, which offer books and newspapers. Each lounge has one display screen to show all the courts so that the public can follow trial proceedings clearly.

  3. Smoking Area and Drinking Fountain

    Smoking is not permitted in the public areas or the court. Those who want to smoke should come to the smoking area outside the gate on the first floor. All courts offer drinking fountains and free paper cups.

  4. Facilities and Wheelchairs for the Disabled:

    The Court has various facilities for the disabled, such as wheelchair ramps, restrooms, parking lots and so on, as well as courtesy wheelchairs for the disabled.

  5. Teleconferencing Inquiry System:

    In order to simplify the procedures for witnesses testifying and appraisers identifying at court, the Judicial Yuan has installed a "Court Teleconferencing Inquiry System" for its courts of the first and second instances. The system makes use of video-conferencing and Internet technology to integrate information technology with judicial affairs and overcome limitations on space and distance. This system not only improves the efficiency of court operations but also offers the public a more convenient and diversified customer service.

    In the past, those who were called to testify in court had to come to the appropriate court no matter where they lived, unless the court responsible commissioned other courts to interrogate the witness. Although those who testified in court could claim travel expenses, these journeys had a negative impact on their daily lives. In addition to these considerations, the public was concerned about how to protect the security of the witness.

    A judge can now make use of the Court Teleconferencing Inquiry System to carry out remote interrogation directly. Therefore, witnesses or appraisers living in different cities or counties can apply to the judges responsible to appear in their nearest courts. After obtaining the consent of the responsible judges, the judges can interrogate the witnesses or appraisers directly using the video system and the Internet to further protect the security, interests and rights of the witnesses and the appraisers.

  6. Suggestions Boxes:

    The suggestions boxes are located in front of the office block, in the Customer Service Desk and the parties' lounge. Those who have suggestions on judicial affairs can write them down giving their name, sex, age, profession, ID number and address, and put them into the suggestions boxes for our reference.

  7. Integrating Social Resources and Expanding Litigation Assistance:

    In order to integrate social resources and to expand litigation assistance and public legal assistance, the Court invites those who are concerned with the welfare of the public to serve them as volunteers of the Court.

  8. Chinese-English Bilingual Court Signs, Floor Plans and Direction Signs of Courts and Offices:

    In order to ensure the public knows the location of the Court, the Court has placed direction signs on major routes going to the court outside, and floor plans and direction signs of courts and offices in conspicuous locations inside the court. The Court has also printed location map on envelopes to inform the parties involved or other concerned persons.

  9. Giving Notice of Court Verdicts and Sending them out:

    Where cases have had judgments rendered notice of the court verdicts must be sent out in accordance with regulations. This should be done on the current day, and for criminal cases, the registrars should send the court verdicts in the form of postal cards to the parties. If a member of the public cannot find a court verdict of any case that has had judgment rendered on the bulletin board after five days from the date of judgment, they should come to the Litigation Assistance Section to use the touch-screen computer to see the court verdict.

  10. Other Service Facilities:

    Courtesy umbrellas, nursery rooms and diaper changing areas are available.