USALIAffiliate

Igeta Daisuke. Challenging Japan's Extensive Surveillance of Muslims. Center for Constituional Rights Blog

As a Japanese lawyer studying in the United States, I came across CCR’s case Hassan v. City of New York, a lawsuit challenging the blanket surveillance and religious profiling of Muslim communities. The case – and the principles it upholds – seems particularly important now, as I watch political candidates call for discriminatory measures against Muslims. I learned of the case while doing research for my own litigation in Japan challenging a more severe version of the program, one that monitors virtually every Muslim person in the country. 

Margaret K. Lewis. Political Realities of the East China Sea Conflict. The Diplomat

The already tense atmosphere in the East China Sea ratcheted up a notch this past week when China declared a new air defense identification zone. The United States’ flight of a pair of B-52 bombers through that zone on Monday further highlighted the potential for conflict in the contested area. 

Elizabeth Lynch. Rachel Stern on China’s Environmental Rights Movement. China Law & Policy

This August, former USALI scholar Elizabeth Lynch conducted a three-part interview with Rachel Stern, assistant professor of law and politics at UC Berkeley, on China’s environmental litigation and environmental rights movement. This is the first part of the series. 

Hua Ze. Misrule of Law in China. New York Times

Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer for the underprivileged, knew he risked his freedom by challenging the Chinese Communist Party to fulfill its vows to fight corruption and promote the rule of law. His fight made him one of China’s best known human-rights advocates, and it has now landed him in prison.

天堂不撤守-馬總統,請推動司法為民的改革!

英文

【陳長文】

上個星期,馬總統的第二任期已滿一年。對於這位「法律人」出身、擔任過法務部長的總統,筆者有高度的期許,在過去五年中筆者曾以〈馬總統的司法考卷〉、〈肩承司改責任,對法律人總統的期待〉等文章,希望他在任期內司法改革有大幅的進展。我們慶幸改革的齒輪是往前推行中,例如定罪率提高、《妥速審判法》與《法官法》的制定、人民觀審制試行、公職律師考試制度等等,但是在積陳已久的司法結構性問題上,漸進治標式的「修改」實在不夠, 總統必須果敢地推動以使用者取向治本的司法「改革」才是 。

近十年來筆者有機會與年輕的司法官學員切磋 超國界法律議題,面對這群法律菁英,看著他們對投入的司法工作充滿憧憬,一方面為他們即將開展職涯感到高興,另一方面也滿懷憂心。在上課前,筆者總是建議 他們在出任法官或檢察官一定期間後後轉到法院外從事律師工作,以免坐井觀天,自以為是,不但對自己成長有礙,更不利於增長人民對司法的信心。同時,筆者更 建議他們執業律師一段時間後務必再重新回到司法官崗位上,為封閉的司法體系注入新生命。這些話,於私,是給學弟妹的職涯建言,於公,毋寧是為了司法改革的演化而設想。同樣的開場白十年如一日,筆者總希望可以不用一提再提,但司法改革成效顯然有限,筆者的希望總是落空。

民國七十六年解嚴以後,我國的憲政逐漸步入常軌,國家也從「法制」(rule by law)邁入「法治」(rule of law),在審檢分隸、司法預算獨立入憲後,行政給司法帶來的不當影響已經受到有效的節制。然而司法獨立不代表司法步入康莊大道,司法必須在判決(起訴) 品質和效率上建立它的公信力,這項要求,延宕至今,離人民的期望仍然有很遠的距離。

延續前司法院長施啟揚未盡的司改大業,下一任院長翁岳生在民國八十八年召開了司法改革會議,提出「司法為民」的理念,以營造合理審判環境與公平正義 的訴訟為目標,也擬定了法院組織的改造方向。然而會議過後至今已進入第十五年,經過二次政黨輪替,司法改革卻依舊牛步。部分原因應是出自司法體系內部的阻 力,另一部分則在於未能與立法部門配合,相關法規如司法院組織法、法院組織法、憲法訴訟法等皆未通過,導致改革遭遇瓶頸。另外,就司法人才養成方面,從前 端的法學教育,到司法人才的進用與培訓,絕非靠司法院之力便可完成,必須會同行政院相關部會及考試院聯手改制,才能為司法改革注入活水。

信手拈來最近可能進入再審的台糖案,引發了法官缺乏社會經驗而致事實認定偏差的批評,以及論證說理充分度不足之譏。另外,台中高分院面對同樣證據, 彼一時可認為罪證確鑿,做成終局判決處以被告重刑,此一時卻又認為尚有其他重要證據漏未斟酌而裁定允許再審(更不論正式進入再審),讓人民摸不清法院的裁 判標準。

要知道在現代法治意義下,人民已不再是受司法程序支配的客體,而是法律的「主體」,簡單地說,就是人民是司法系統的 「使用者」。必須司法充分獲得人民的信賴,法治才可能形成。一個帶有強烈官僚氣息、不能及時改良運作、充分回應使用者需求的司法體系,除了會嚴重挫折年輕 的法律人並虛耗其心力外,更重要的是,人民權益不當的犧牲必將重創人民對政府的信任。在什麼都講求人民(客戶)需求優先、倡行優良服務的今日,司法改革何 能因循敷衍!

馬總統不介入個案的作風值得推崇,但諸如此類司法結構性問題,勢須馬總統於「尊重司法」之外,以積極的態度去引導解決之道。基此,筆者呼籲馬總統, 把握三年的任期,完成徹底的結構性司法改革!司法改革必須從「法學教育改革」著手,司法考試、司法操守、法院組織改造、公職律師等問題,任一都不可偏廢。 若能召集跨院(司法、行政、考試、立法)、跨門戶(審、檢、辯、民)、跨界(法學界、司法界、律師界)的有志之士共商司法改革,必可重燃司改生機,獲得人 民的信賴。(作者為法學教授、律師)

{新版中時電子報上線囉~}

 

C.V. Chen. “Judiciary of the People” in Taiwan. China Times

Last week President Ma completed the first year of his second term in office. I had high expectations for this president, a “legal professional” who once served as the Minister of Justice. For the past five years, through several articles such as “President Ma’s Judicial Exam,” “Shouldering the Responsibility for Judicial Reform, Expectations for the President with a Legal Background,” etc., I have expressed the hope that during his term there would be substantial progress in judicial reform

Eva Pils publishes new book, "China’s Human Rights Lawyers: Advocacy and Resistance (Routledge Research in Human Rights Law)"

This book offers a unique insight into the role of human rights lawyers in Chinese law and politics. In her extensive account, Eva Pils shows how these practitioners are important as legal advocates for victims of injustice and how bureaucratic systems of control operate to subdue and marginalise them. 

James B. Jacobs.The Eternal Criminal Record. Harvard University Press

For over sixty million Americans, possessing a criminal record over¬shadows everything else about their public identity. A rap sheet, or even a court appearance or background report that reveals a run-in with the law, can have fateful consequences for a person’s inter¬actions with just about everyone else. The Eternal Criminal Record (Harvard) makes transparent an all-pervading system of police databases and identity-screening that has become a routine feature of American life.

Alvin Y.H. Cheung. The Battle for the Soul of Hong Kong. The Diplomat

Beijing’s hardline stance has set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Hong Kong’s democrats. After months of mobilization and counter-mobilization by democrats and anti-democrats, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) has finally spoken on Hong Kong’s chief executive electoral arrangements for 2017. 

Compilation: Women Leading Lawmaking in China

This compilation of papers brings together some of China’s leading voices on gender and the law. The Gender and Law Expert group was brought together by the Ford Foundation at Wellesley College in September 2009. These experts are defined by the significant individual and collective mark they have left on China’s gender and law landscape.

Margaret K. Lewis. Leniency and Severity in China’s Death Penalty Debate. Columbia Journal of Asian Law

China has implemented an initial wave of death penalty reforms that returned final review power of all capital cases to the Supreme People’s Court and reportedly significantly curbed executions. After reviewing recent legal developments concerning capital cases, this Article explores how the initial push to reduce use of the death penalty has given way to a more complex and nuanced debate over what factors should determine when the death penalty is appropriate. 

Eva Pils. China must be held to account over ‘disappeared’ lawyers. The Guardian

China’s human rights lawyers are currently experiencing unprecedented persecution. Over the past 40 days, six lawyers have been taken away by the police and disappeared. Dozens of other rights defenders, activists and dissidents have also been taken away; and one of the lawyers has resurfaced under circumstances suggesting that he was badly tortured.

Margaret K. Lewis. Political Realities of the East China Sea Conflict. The Diplomat

The already tense atmosphere in the East China Sea ratcheted up a notch this past week when China declared a new air defense identification zone.The United States’ fight of a pari of B-52 bombers through that zone on Monday further highlighted the potential for conflict in the contested area. The legal issues involved in the use of the sea, are intellectually intriguing for an academic who studies international law. The political realities of this increasingly tough neighborhood, however, are frightening.

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.

Chen Guangcheng. How China Flouts Its Laws. The New York Times

Since I arrived in the United States on May 19, people have asked me, “What do you want to do here?” I have come here to study temporarily, not to seek political asylum. And while I pursue my studies, I hope that the Chinese government and the Communist Party will conduct a thorough investigation of the lawless punishment inflicted on me and my family over the past seven years.