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最高裁新長官 違憲審査権の適切な行使を

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 03, 2014
Top court under new chief must use power of judicial review appropriately
最高裁新長官 違憲審査権の適切な行使を

In realizing a judiciary that can be trusted by the people, the new chief justice has his work cut out for him.
 国民に信頼される司法の実現に向けて、新長官の手腕が問われよう。

Itsuro Terada has become the 18th chief justice of the Supreme Court. His father, Jiro Terada, was the 10th chief justice. It marks the first time for a father and son to have both assumed the post.
 最高裁の第18代長官に寺田逸郎・最高裁判事が就任した。父親の治郎氏も第10代長官を務めた。初の親子2代の長官就任である。

Terada, a former judge, worked for many years at the Justice Ministry and on tasks such as the development of legal systems related to the Civil Code. He has likely been appointed as the chief justice due to his knowledge of not only the judiciary, but also the legislative process and public administration.
 寺田氏は裁判官出身だが、法務省勤務が長く、民事関係の法整備などに携わった経歴を持つ。司法だけでなく、立法や行政の分野にも精通している点が評価されての起用と言えるだろう。

What is expected from the new chief justice, among other things, is firmly establishing reforms in the justice system within society, an ongoing process that Terada was involved in when he was at the Justice Ministry.
 新長官にまず期待されるのは、寺田氏自身が法務省時代に関与した司法制度改革の定着だ。

The reforms, which aimed to create a justice system that the public would feel close to and find useful, have achieved tangible results.
身近で使い勝手の良い司法を目指す改革は、一定の成果を上げている。

The lay judge system, one of the reforms’ key features, will have been in force for five years in May. Although the system was implemented without major confusion, it is a cause of concern that among those who have served as lay judges, the number of people who say that the trial process is “easily comprehensible” has been declining.
 改革の目玉だった裁判員制度は5月で施行5年を迎える。大きな混乱もなく実施されているが、「審理が理解しやすかった」という裁判員経験者の声が減少傾向にあるのは気がかりだ。

In implementing the lay judge system, the court intended to improve the level of interaction within the judiciary during the trial, such as during witness examination. But there has been much criticism that trials have often been conducted on the basis of written documentation, mainly with records of pretrial interrogation being read out.
 制度施行にあたっては、証人尋問など公判でのやりとりを充実させるはずだった。ところが、調書を読み上げる書面中心の審理が目立つとの批判が多い。

We hope the new chief justice will exercise his leadership so that trials are conducted in an easy-to- understand manner.
わかりやすい審理を徹底するよう、寺田氏は指導力を発揮してほしい。

Respect other branches

The court has the power of judicial review to evaluate the constitutionality of laws and administrative procedures, with the final judgment to be made by the Supreme Court.
 裁判所は、法律や行政手続きが憲法に適合するかどうかを監視する違憲審査権を持つ。
最終判断を担うのが最高裁だ。

Trials involving constitutional judgments are examined by all 15 justices on the grand bench, with Terada serving as chief judge.
憲法判断が絡む裁判は、15人の裁判官全員による大法廷で審理され、寺田氏が裁判長を務める。

The power of judicial review is an important source of authority in a nation ruled by law. But from the viewpoint of the separation of administrative, legislative and judiciary powers, it is essential to heed the discretion of the legislative and executive branches when exercising the power.
 違憲審査権は法治国家における重要な権限だが、行使には、三権分立の立場から、国会や行政の裁量権への目配りが欠かせない。

The top court’s stance has been deemed questionable in this respect, as indicated by its ruling on vote-value disparity.
 その観点で疑問なのは、「1票の格差」を巡る判決の中で示された最高裁の姿勢である。

In a ruling that described the 2009 House of Representatives election to have been in “a state of unconstitutionality,” the grand bench said that the vote-value disparity primarily stems from the current seat-distribution system. The system allots one seat to each prefecture as a quota before deciding the number of seats that should be allocated to its single-seat section of the election in proportion to its population. The court called for an immediate abolition of the distribution formula.
 2009年の衆院選を「違憲状態」とした判決で、大法廷は、まず各都道府県に小選挙区の1議席を割り振る「1人別枠方式」が格差の主因だと指摘し、速やかな廃止を求めた。

In a ruling that also stated the 2012 lower house election to have been in “a state of unconstitutionality,” the top court said structural problems in the distribution of the quota of seats for single-seat constituencies had not been resolved.
 12年衆院選を違憲状態とした判決でも、別枠方式の構造問題は解決されていないと言及した。

It can be said that the top court has gone so far as to step into the legislative branch’s sphere of discretion, going beyond making a judgment on the constitutionality of a vote-value disparity.
 格差が合憲か違憲かの判断にとどまらず、立法府の裁量の範囲にまで踏み込んだと言える。

The issue of whether a framework concerning Diet seat distribution should be abolished is one that must be judged by the Diet. The top court must exercise its power of judicial review appropriately.
議席配分に関する仕組みの存廃は、国会が判断すべき事柄だろう。最高裁には、違憲審査権の適切な行使が求められる。

The Supreme Court is the “last bastion” in the three-tiered system of justice.
 最高裁は、3審制における「最後の砦とりで」でもある。

It is vital that, under the new chief justice, each justice on the top court properly evaluates the conclusions reached by lower courts, so that there are no more victims of false accusation.
万が一にも冤罪えんざいの被害者を出さぬよう、寺田新長官の下、最高裁の各裁判官は、下級審の結論をしっかりチェックすることが肝要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 3, 2014)
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by kiyoshimat | 2014-04-05 11:21 | 英字新聞

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