Judicial independence is one of the most important institutions in the operation of modern constitutional democracy. Not only is it a fundamental condition for an authoritarian regime to transit to a democracy, but also a crucial mechanism for a democracy to maintain regime stability and ensure good democratic governance. The purpose of this article is to construct a measurement of the degree of Taiwan's judicial independence by summarizing the theoretical concepts and analyzing the empirical data. By applying the measurement, this article investigates the extent of public support for the judicial department, as well as the functional operation and evolution of the judicial department during the era of democratization. According to the literature, ＂judgment independence＂ and ＂institutional independence＂ are two appropriate indicators to measure the extent of judicial independence in Taiwan. The indicator for judgment independence measures the degree to which people support or have trust in the judiciary department by using yearly opinion survey data. The indicator for institutional independence measures the judiciary department's ability to play checks and balances. Data for measuring institutional independence come from two official statistics-the ratio of laws and administrative decrees that the Justices of the Constitutional Court have declared unconstitutional, and the ratio of administrative acts that the Administrative Court have repealed. After defining and measuring judicial independence, we conduct simple correlation statistics to analyze the development of judicial independence and constitutional democracy in Taiwan. The empirical result demonstrates: 1. On the whole, public support of the judiciary and democratic development shows a low correlation, which is mainly because of the gap between the public's expectations of judicial independence and its actual development. However, the gap has diminished and statistical correlation has become positive after democratization. 2. The two indicators of institutional independence, in particular the ratio of laws and administrative decrees that the Justices of the Constitutional Court have declared unconstitutional, are positively correlated with the degree of democracy, indicating that the judiciary's checks and balances play a crucial role in the current development of judicial independence under Taiwan's democratization.
|Translated title of the contribution||Revisiting Taiwan's Judicial Independence: An Empirical Analysis of Public Support and Institutional Counterbalance|
|Journal||臺灣民主季刊 ＝ Taiwan Democracy Quarterly|
|Publication status||Published - 2015 Dec|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations