Margaret K. Lewis. Taiwan’s New Adversarial System and the Overlooked Challenge of Efficiency-Driven Reforms. Virginia Journal of International Law


In the short span of two decades, Taiwan has gone from a repressive, authoritarian state under martial law to a vibrant democracy.’ This stunning political change has received worldwide attention. Less well-known is the striking overhaul of Taiwan’s criminal justice system that has accompanied these political changes. Taiwan is transforming the inquisitorial structure that characterized the criminal justice system of its dictatorial past into a so-called “reformed adversarial system” that emphasizes contested trials. Yet the concurrent efficiency-driven reforms that are touted as necessary for the new scheme to function are pushing the criminal justice system in an unanticipated and controversial direction. These reforms are creating a distinct form of streamlined, prosecutor- dominated justice that is emerging parallel to the adversarial one and even impeding the development of the new adversarial approach. Currently, the reality of the Taiwanese criminal justice system is not meeting the lofty goals of reformers.

For the full text of this article, please click here. This article was originally published in the Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 49, 651 (2009).