■ About us
■ Overview
■ About the project
What is Empirical Legal Studies
Empirical Legal Studies in Taiwan
Types od Data and Databases
The Importance of Empirical Databases
Empirical Legal Studies in Taiwan

As in the United States, Taiwanese Empirical Legal Studies has long been relegated to a marginal position in the legal academy.  In recently years, however, the field has made gradual progress.  Quite different from the American situation, though, is the way in which the European heritage of law in Taiwan has contributed to this situation.  There are perhaps two chief factors at work: first, heavily influenced by the Neo-Kantian Sollen/Sein (“is”/“ought”) dichotomy, legal scholarship has long been preoccupied by the notion that the proper study of law should examine the Sollen dimension, often to the near or complete disregard of the Sein dimensions of legal knowledge.  Secondly, the influence of Rechtstaat and Rechtsdogmatik—especially the jurisprudence of concepts—since the nineteenth century has given rise to a legal science preoccupied by the notional refinement of interpretation and application of positive law and Rechtsdogmatik concepts.  Furthermore, the difficulty of obtaining materials for empirical legal research has further hampered the efforts of ELS scholars in Taiwan.  Government statistical databases are often inadequately accessible, or poorly organized.  They are designed by public servants or policy-makers, and thus often unsuitable for academic research.

Although ELS has long been undervalued in Taiwanese legal scholarship, this is not to say that it is a new field in Taiwan.  In fact, there is a long history of the use of ELS methods and attention to law and society in the Taiwanese legal academy, marginal though they have been.  Legal researchers during the Japanese colonial period employed survey and statistical analysis methods.  Doctor Okamatsu Santarō, Doctor Aneha Shouhei and Doctor Tai Yen-hui are a few notable examples.  After World War II, empirical research long served as one of the chief methods of criminological and penal policy research.  Neither were empirical methods absent from other academic fields.  In the late 1980s, Su Yeong-Chin did work on law and social change.  Beginning in the 1990s, an increasing number of scholars took interest in the use of empirical methods to study the relationship between law and society.  Professor Yeh Jiunn-Rong collaborated with Academia Sinica on the Social Image Survey, a project that aims to gain insight into popular reactions to major events in society as they unfold.  From September 2001 through August 2005, Professor Chen Hwei-Syin oversaw the collaboration of eleven law professors from different fields on the Construction of the Law Consciousness of Jurists-Review and Planning for the Core Courses of Legal Education in Taiwan project.  It included opinion surveys and group discussions.  The National Chiao Tung University Institute of Technology Law showed marked success with ELS conferences in 2006 and 2007 (the latter in collaboration with the National ChengChih University Institute of Law and Inter-discipline).

Furthermore, a significant number of government surveys in recent years have aimed to better understand the way the law actually operates.  These include the Judicial Yuan’s multiple Judicial Services Satisfaction surveys, Judicial Reform Lawyer Satisfaction Survey, Taiwanese Civil and Criminal Verdict Public Opinion Survey, and the Juvenile and Child Delinquency Survey.  The Council of Labor Affairs has also carried out multiple Employment Gender Equality surveys in order to evaluate the impact of the Gender Equality in Employment Act.

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