Taiwan’s New Adversarial System and the Overlooked Challenge of Efficiency-Driven Reforms
76 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2009
Date Written: March 1, 2009
The end of martial law marked the beginning of Taiwan’s criminal justice revolution. Taiwan has overhauled the inquisitorial structure of its dictatorial past to adopt a system that emphasizes contested trials in which the prosecution and defense play active roles. In embracing a so-called “reformed adversarial system,” Taiwan has concomitantly adopted several means of settling criminal disputes in an expeditious fashion, namely, deferred prosecution, plea bargaining, file-based adjudication, and simplified trials. The domestic debate behind the use of these procedures has centered on efficiency grounds. Beyond a narrow focus on saving resources, what has gone unrecognized is how these efficiency-driven procedures are creating a distinct channel of streamlined, prosecutor-dominated justice that is emerging alongside the adversarial one and even impeding the development of the new adversarial approach. There remains a void both in the domestic Taiwanese context and in the broader international literature as to how streamlined criminal proceedings play into a larger transition towards an adversarial system.
Keywords: Taiwan, China, Criminal Procedure, Adversarial, Inquisitorial
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