Organization of District Courts
Presently, in the Taiwan-Penghu and Kinmen-Matsu areas, there are twenty-one District Courts allocated in Taipei, Panchiao, Shihlin, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin, Chaiyi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Taitung, Hualien, han, Keelung, Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang. Each District Court may establish one or more summary divisions for the adjudication of cases suitable to summary judgments. Currently, there are a total of forty-five such divisions in Taiwan. Additionally, there is the Taiwan Kaohsiung Juvenile Court established in accordance with the Law Governing the Disposition of Juvenile Cases.
The court is divided into civil, criminal, juvenile, traffic, public peace, and finance divisions. A civil execution department is also attached to the court. The special divisions are based on their special nature. Each division consists of a divisional chief and several judges. The president, administrative chief judge and divisional chiefs of the court are appointed from the senior judges. The assignment of cases are made by the lot and has already been computerized. Cases tried by the court are generally heard before a single judge. Serious or complicated cases and election suits are heard before three judges sitting in council¡X one of them is presiding judge. Anyone, including judge's superiors, is prohibited from interfering with the trial. The judge conducts the trial independently. Every judge responsible for the trial has one record clerk, but a judge for execution has several clerks and process-servers.
District Courts have jurisdiction over the following cases:
- Ordinary or summary civil and criminal cases as well as civil small claim cases as courts of the first instance;
- Civil and criminal appeals or interlocutory appeals from decisions rndered by the summary divisions;
- Juvenile matters;
- Family matters;
- Traffic cases;
- Civil compulsory execution cases;
- Non-contentious matters;
- Civil protection writs;
- Rehabilitation of delinquents;
- Labor-management disputes;
- Elections and recalls;
- Violations of the Statute for the Maintenance of Social Order;
- Other cases prescribed by law.
One judge at each District Court is appointed to serve concurrently as President of his or her Court and to supervise that Courts administrative affairs. Each of the District Courts has civil, criminal and summary divisions and may establish specialized divisions to handle cases involving juveniles, family, traffic, and labor matters as well as motions to set aside rulings on violations of the Statute for the Maintenance of Social Order. Each division has a Division Chief Judge who supervises and assigns the business of the division. Additionally, each District Court has a Civil Execution Department, a Public Defenders' Office, a Notarization Department, a Registration Department, a Lodgment Office and a Probation Officers' Office. Each District Court also has a Clerical Office headed by a Chief Clerk who assists the President with administrative affairs and which is divided into Sections for Civil Recording, Criminal Recording, Juvenile Recording, Documents, General Affairs, Research and Evaluation, Data and Legal Assistance. There is also a Judicial Police Office and each District Court maintains Offices for Personnel, Accounting, Statistics, Information and Government Ethics.
A single judge hears and decides cases in ordinary and summary proceedings as well as in small claims cases. A panel of three judges decides cases of great importance in ordinary proceedings as well as appeals or interlocutory appeals from the summary and small claims proceedings. Criminal cases are decided by a panel of three judges, except summary proceedings can be held by a single judge. The Juvenile Court hears and decides only cases involving juveniles, and the provisions of the organization of the District Court apply mutatis mutandis to the Juvenile Court.
Departments and Services of District Courts
The aim of notarization is to safeguard private rights and prevent potential disputes. The court has established the Department of Notarization handling application for notarizing juristic acts or facts of private rights, and attesting private documents. The matters which can be put under notarization or attestation include sale, lease, gift, marriage, acknowledgement of children, and will.
The department of notary notarizes legal acts, facts, and documents. To notarize marriage, there is a notarial marriage auditorium in the court for adult couples to get married in majestic and solemn ceremony.
Joint Service Center
To render everyday service to those who need help, the court has set up an information and service center where over-the-counter service is available. The clerks work in the center are all law school graduates, so can they answer all questions and do what people asked immediately. The Center answers questions orally or in writing about judicial procedures, sells blank judicial forms, and provides free specimens of petitions.
The Registration Department is in charge of registration of associations, foundations, and marital property contracts. The function of this department is to safeguard private rights and to avert disputes.
The department of registration deals with the registrations of legal persons and property contracts between husband & wife. The office of lodgment transacts matters of the deposits of money or negotiable instruments. The information office provides counseling on law and other services.
The Lodgment Office handles performance and security lodgment. Performance lodgment can bring the effect of extinguishing obligations. Security lodgment provides a ground for compulsory execution or exemption from compulsory execution.
Non-contentious Disposition renter
The "Non-contentious Disposition Center" takes charge of non-contentious civil matters which can be processed through computer systems. This has proved convenient to the people by shortening the time of the concerned parties to receive decisions. Now the Center handles the following, matters:
- Applications for payment orders in accordance with the hortatory proceedings.
- Public summons.
- Rulings of execution for promissory notes.
Division-chief On-duty System
To supervise the work and services of divisions, sections, and offices as well as to deal with unexpected events on behalf of the president of the court, the court has established an on-duty system. All division-chiefs take turns to be on-duty officers to receive people and deal with their petitions.
Recognizing the value that mediation saves time and money between civil disputers, the summary divisions' Judges are asked to render mediation service every case before hearing, and thus have about 30% of their civil cases settled peacefully.
With the guidance and support from the High court and Judicial yuan, district courts had established a computer office and a non-contentious matters center. At present, Computer net-works have been completed not only for Judges, but also, administrative offices, where, fully equipped with hardwares, employees have received Computer training and work smoothly.
Digitized Court Minutes
In order to have the Court hearing process vividly recorded, audio-and video-tape equipment are provided. And one thing to mention, the file system in this court is excellent. All official documents are arranged in chronological order by classification and number and set in orderly rows. Any file can be accessed in minutes.