Justices produce own reform plans

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Justices produce own reform plans

The nation’s highest court yesterday unveiled its own judiciary reform measures, including creating bureaus in the country’s high courts to screen appeals to the Supreme Court and tougher standards for reappointing judges.

The measures come in reaction to a deepening rift between the ruling Grand National Party and the Supreme Court. The GNP has announced it will submit a bill to the National Assembly to gradually increase the number of Supreme Court judges by adding 10 judges to the current 14. The Supreme Court drew a clear line by issuing a statement on Mar. 18 that the “Supreme Court is responsible to decide the terms of judicial reform,” and “the constitutional freedom of the judiciary should be respected.”

The Supreme Court’s revision measures will be submitted to the advisory committee on judicial policies under the Supreme Court today.

The proposed measures would create bureaus in the country’s five high courts that specialize in judging whether handing appeals to the Supreme Court are appropriate.

The Supreme Court has said unnecessary appeals have slowed work tasks and setting up the bureaus will boost efficiency.

Twenty-five current senior judges, attorneys and law professors with over 15 years of legal experience will screen inappropriate appeals.

“Limiting appellate cases by setting up such bureaus in high courts is more ideal than what the GNP offered as a revision plan,” said an official with the Supreme Court.

“The GNP’s idea of adding more judges to increase the number of Supreme Court justices to 24 wouldn’t work in the long term,” the official added.

The Supreme Court also said it will reflect more on performance review reports on judges to decide their reappointments and disclose to the public full texts of court rulings in the first, second and third trials.

By Kim Mi-ju, Kwon Suk-chun [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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