Explaining Public Attitudes toward the Judicial System: The Case of Taiwan
Using data from the “2011 Taiwan Civil Justice Survey,” this paper investigates Taiwan citizens’ attitude toward and trust in the judicial system, together with the factors that influence their attitude and trust. In general, citizens have relatively little trust in the courts. Specifically, only about half of the subjects interviewed believe that the court rulings are fair. This is lower than their trust in the police’s work. Only 41.5% of the subjects are satisfied with the overall performance of the courts. Even more serious is the finding that the subjects who had court experience have even lower trust than those who had not, a result contracting the theory which extor “Familiarity Breeds Respect.” Our statistical analysis indicates that, although fewer subjects believe that “the judge’s thinking is out of pace with society” than either “judgments are influenced by litigants’ social positions” or “courts are authoritarian,” it has the strongest negative impact on the subjects’ support for and trust in the courts. The impact of legal consciousness on the support for and trust in the courts is significantly stronger than the demographic characteristics, as well as those who strongly believe in the presumption of innocence. All in all, people’s trust in and support for the courts are indeed influenced by their value judgments and experience.