Are You Ready to Judge? Special Exhibition “We Are Citizens, Also Judges” By the Judicial Museum
With the implantation of the act, the curtain of “We Are Citizens, Also Judges” was raised, in the Judicial Museum on 4th December, 2022. (Photo authorized by the Judicial Yuan)
Author: Chia-Yu, Yeh (Executive Column Editor, Museum Island by the Ministry of Culture)
The Citizen Judges Act has been implemented since the 1st January this year, are you ready?
The curtain of special exhibition We Are Citizens, Also Judges was raised in the Judicial Museum on 4th December, 2022. In the “We Are Citizens, Also Judges” exhibition, a simulated citizen judge court scene was set. Audiences were able to go through the trial and learn about the course of amendment and legislative history of the system. Such design of a complete and interactive trial experience is aimed to enhance the understanding of the new system.
Judges in the mirror: It could be any one of us!
Stepping into the exhibition, the audiences will immediately see the reflection of themselves in six mirrors. The visual design symbolizes that everyone could be a citizen judge. As long as you are a Taiwanese, who is above 23 years old and lived in the court’s jurisdiction for at least four consecutive months, you are eligible to be a citizen judge, or be randomly selected by the city/county government.
Six mirrors were set at the entrance of the exhibition, reflecting the audiences and symbolizing everyone could be a judge with the mirrors reflecting themselves. (Photo by Chia-Yu, Yeh)
The special exhibition was divided into two areas, Citizen Judge Online and CitizenJudge-ing. Citizen Judge Online simulated the citizen judge court scene, allowing the audiences to experience the trial proceedings with interactive games. However, instead of the solemnity in the real court, the exhibit was designed with a bright blue tone and wooden table to bring a cozy atmosphere. Such design reduced the sense of distance and tension between the audiences and the court, so that they could familiarize themselves with the Act in a much lighter mood.
The audiences will experience complete trial proceedings in the interactive exhibit of Citizen Judge Online. Sitting on the Citizen Judge seat, the audiences could read the “Citizen Judge Online: Quick Guide of Trial” and get help from the interactive bot webpage through scanning a QR code. Six respective recordings of the prosecutor, defense attorneys, accused, victim, and witness were also provided to assist their adjudication.
Bright blue tone and wooden tables were used to build a court scene with a lighter mood. (Photo by Chia-Yu, Yeh)
Audiences can take a seat at the Judge seat and experience the trial interactively. (Authorized by Judicial Yuan)
Citizen Judge Online: Trial in game
During the trial, participants have to vow with the oath of the Citizen Judge. Then, a trial introduction will be given through their phones to understand the provisions and criminal laws violated in the upcoming trial. After that, photos of evidence and six recordings will be given. The procedure is in consistence with the protocol in the Act that all evidence and facts of the offence will be submitted to the judges in the first trial. 
The “Citizen Judge Online '' interactive game operates by utilizing a smartphone, a quick guide of trial (an interactive manual) and the six recordings at the judge seat. (Photo by Chia-Yu, Yeh)
After the participants went through all the criminal records and recordings, they will have to make their adjudication immediately at the end of the trial. For instance, if the participant decided the accused should be charged as having committed “constructive robbery and serious injury”, a gavel sticker should be stuck to the assigned board. Such design allowed the audiences to see the adjudication under the diverse values.
An adjudication has to be made at the end of the trial. If guilty, what crime should it be? Constructive Robbery? Constructive Robbery and Serious Injury? Or Constructive Robbery causing serious injury? After the judgment was made, a gavel sticker should be stuck on the three differently-designed board/poster to finish the trial. (Photo by Chia-Yu, Yeh)
The Long and Winding Reformation: CitizenJudge-ing
In CitizenJudge-ing, the 36-year-long legislative history and efforts made by many for Citizen Judges Act were presented. The exhibition displays a chronology highlighting countless hard work. For example, in 1987, the premier of Judicial Yuan went abroad to study the lay judge system and jury system. By 2020, the Citizen Judges Act had passed the Third Reading in the Legislative Yuan, and finally, the citizen judge courtroom and system was fully established in all the courts in 2022. Adjacent to the chronology, there is an electronic countdown of the implementation, reminding the audience that we all could be a citizen judge in the upcoming future.
Upon reading this, have you acquired more about the Citizen Judges Act?
The exhibition familiarizes the audience with the proceedings of trial, through an engaging and interactive experience. However, qualification and protective measures for the Citizen Judges could be explained in greater detail. Introducing the pretested court simulation cases held by Judicial Yuan could provide a more comprehensive explanation. Furthermore, looking at the Japan Lay Judge System, which is similar to the act in Taiwan and has been implemented for over ten years, could also inspire a further contemplation of the actual significance and risks of such legal reformation.
CitizenJudge-ing present a chronology of the key event of Citizen Judges Act, with an electric countdown of the implementation. (Authorized by Judicial Yuan)
Executive Editor: Kuan-Ting, Kuo
: According to Article 264 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a public prosecution shall be initiated by a public prosecutor by filing an indictment with a competent court, plus, the record and exhibits shall be sent therewith to the court. However, as there is a gap of the knowledge of law between a citizen judge and professional judge, if the evidence, records and petitions were previewed, the accused might be pre-judged as guilty. Hence, according to Article 43 of the Citizen Judge Act, the prosecutor must not submit the filing of evidence to the court in the initiation of the prosecution. All evidence and relevant facts must be directly presented on court. (Dong, 2023)