chapter  8
25 Pages

Public interest litigation in Taiwan: Strategy for law and policy changes in the course of democratization

ByWEN-CHEN CHANG

This chapter aims to provide an updated account of public interest litigation in Taiwan. It seeks to understand and explain why public interest groups initially concentrated on constitutional litigation in the 1980s and 1990s, and after the period of democratization gradually turned their focus on litigation in the lower courts. The following discussion includes

two major parts. Section I analyzes the practice of constitutional litigation after Taiwan’s democratization process began in the late 1980s and, more importantly, examines the societal and institutional conditions that facilitated the growth of such litigation. As the discussion shows, constitutional litigation during this period was primarily to place pressure on the newly elected legislature to make law and policy changes. Even more notably, the actors in constitutional litigation were not limited to public interest groups and public interest lawyers. Due to the nature of constitutional litigation in Taiwan, legislators, opposition parties, government agencies and even lower-court judges may also take part in constitutional litigation and thus play pivotal-sometimes-collaborative-roles in making law and policy changes.