Society and Identity
This panel explores issues concerning judicial reform in three East Asian jurisdictions: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. They all have a democratic society, a developed economy and a legal system based on the continental European civil law tradition. In all of them, there were/are discussions on judicial reform, namely reform(s) of their legal systems. The progress and development however vary. What were/are the reforms? Why were/are they needed? What were/are the objectives? Are the reforms successful? Are they justifiable and of value to the society? Are there any forces driving, influencing, hindering or opposing the reforms? What impact do/will the reforms have? This panel will explore these issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives.
In 2001, Japan launched a large-scale judicial reform “to transform … the spirit … and … rule of law into the flesh and blood” of the country. It covered many different aspects of the legal system. To enhance the public’s accessibility to legal service, the number of lawyers was drastically increased. It also expanded the scope of permitted law-related practice for some judicial scriveners, a quasi-legal profession. This caused further overlap between the two professions’ permitted practice. Is such reform justifiable and of value to the society? Chan and Ii, in their paper, will empirically investigate this issue. Korea has also introduced a judicial reform that covers different areas. In 2009, a professional law school system was established to increase the number of the legal profession and its capacity in legal practice. Time is ripe to evaluate this “new” system. Tsche’s paper examines the criticisms on the system and the challenges that the Korean professional law schools face. Choe will, in her paper, comprehensively review the results of the different aspects of the judicial reform in Korea and propose the direction that the reform of the judicial system shall take. In Taiwan, as Chen’s paper points out, there is a disagreement over the future regulatory policy between the lawyers in the largest city, Taipei, and lawyers in other areas. Chen investigates the factors (from within and outside the legal system) that contribute to the disagreement. On another aspect of the judicial reform in Taiwan, Kuo’s paper provides an ethnographic analysis on how mediation becomes the vital role of judicial reform regarding civil dispute settlement. It will also highlight the interacting factors in judicial reform in Taiwan.