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YDO: Celebrating Intl. Day of Democracy with Lay Judge Experience

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Post date:2021-09-22



Have you ever heard of the International Day of Democracy? The United Nations designated September 15 of each year as this special day back in 2007, hoping to encourage countries around the world to examine the degree of democracy of their respective nations while highlighting the right of the people to democracy and to participate in governance.

To enhance the rights of the people, the National Judges Act was also ratified recently in Taiwan. The new law seeks to incorporate public participation in the judicial system, making the legal process more democratic and transparent.

According to the National Judges Act, Taiwanese citizens above the age of 23 who have completed the mandatory national education curriculum, have resided longer than 4 months at the jurisdiction of the local district court, and meet specific requirements will have the opportunity to become lay judges.
Poster for the lay judge workshop organized by YDO
In the future, trials where the crime ensures a minimum principal punishment involves 10 years of imprisonment or more or cases of intent commitment resulting in deaths will be presided over by 3 professional judges and 6 lay judges. Also, each lay judge will also receive NT$3,000 per day and guaranteed paid leave from work for the trial, as well as receiving support from professional legal experts.

To prepare for the implementation starting 2023, the Youth Development Office (YDO) organized the “Distance between us and Judges: 2021 Lay Judge Online Workshop” on August 25. Participants are able to obtain firsthand experience on the criminal procedure through the support of instructors including lawyers from the Judicial Reform Foundation, judges from the Taiwan Shilin District Court, officers from the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy. For those who wants to try out what it is like to be a lay judge, visit this website:

YDO mentioned that in addition to the Lay Judge Online workshop, the agency will organize programs such as sustainable development classes and Model UN workshops later this year.