Judicial Yuan, 2 August 2002, No. 549
Use of international law as a guide for interpreting domestic law
Insurance in respect of death/ Law preventing children whose adoption had been registered less than 6 months previously from receiving insurance benefits/ Use of international law as a guide for interpreting domestic law
The provisions of a law stipulated that children whose adoption had been registered less than 6 months before the death of their parents could not benefit from their parents’ life insurances, a provision which was intended to combat fraud. Referring to international conventions and foreign law, the Judicial Yuan, the body charged with interpreting the Constitution, held that the law would be more compatible with Constitutional principles if recently adopted children could be recognized by the judiciary as possible beneficiaries of death insurances.
The Judicial Yuan found that the legislative provisions pertaining to adopted children should be amended and that “the relevant international labour and social security Conventions (…) should thereby be taken into account.”
Judge Yueh-Chin Huang gave a separate opinion in line with the principle of this interpretation, further underlining the importance of international labour Conventions in the interpretation of national legislation:
“There are hundreds of conventions or legislative recommendations made by ILO, which plays the critical role in the worldwide value to protect human rights. In this Interpretation, the international conventions are used as a legal source. This is a very pleasing phenomenon for the growth of our constitutional interpretation system. (…) If we take the stand from the international viewpoint, because the worldwide value is to implement the aims or purposes of the conventions, the member states of the conventions have the duty to faithfully express the intents of the conventions, therefore the room for legislative discretion is very limited. (…) “the Constitutional Interpretation Agency” shall use the conventions as the legal sources to review the laws passed by Legislative Agency [the Taiwan Parliament].”