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History

The Japanese government established the High Court of the Taiwan Viceroy Office during the colonial period to govern the Taipei District Court and its branches in Yilan and Hualien, the Hsinchu District Court, Taichung District Court, Kaohsiung District Court, Tainan District Court and its Chiayi branch. A total of 9 High and District Courts were established at that time. When Taiwan was restored to the Republic of China in 1945, the government re-organized the High Court of the Taiwan Viceroy Office and changed its name to the Taiwan High Court.

Article 77 of the Constitution, which took effect in 1947, states that¡G¡§The Judicial Yuan shall be the highest judicial organ of the Republic of China and shall have charge of civil, criminal, and administrative cases and over cases concerning disciplinary measures against public functionaries.¡¨ However, all courts of different levels that were responsible for the trial of civil and criminal cases inherited the old system left from the organizational reforms of the government in 1942. According to this organizational system, all courts were governed by the Ministry of Justice of the Executive Yuan and, as a result, the Taiwan High Court was subordinate to the Executive Yuan. Considering that the system conflicted with the legislative intention of Article 77 of the Constitution, the Council of Grand Justices gave an interpretation on August 15, 1960¡G¡§the regulation specified in Article 77 of the Constitution that the Judicial Yuan shall be the highest judicial organ of the Republic of China and shall have charge of civil, criminal, and administrative cases means the trial of civil and criminal cases at courts of different levels. Since all courts and their branches subordinate to the High Court take charge of the trial of civil and criminal cases, they are no doubt under the governing of the Judicial Yuan¡¨. Based on this construction, the former Ministry of Justice took steps for the separation of the prosecution function from the judicial function. The news system has been brought into practice since July 1, 1980 and all courts of different levels below the Taiwan High Court are subordinate to the Judicial Yuan. This reform, an unprecedented event in the judicial history of the Republic of China, makes the judicial system more rational in its organization and on a practical level ensures that both the judicial and prosecution functions can work more efficiently.