司法解釋化的指導案例

Guiding Cases as Judicial Interpretations

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date6 Mar 2018

Abstract

我國的案例制度,經由學界討論、部分法院探索再到被列入司法改革藍圖, 以《關於案例指導工作的規定》的制定及指導案例的正式發佈為標誌,我國的案 例制度終於“破蛹成蝶”。法律界對案例制度寄予厚望,稱之為我國司法改革的 “蝴蝶之翅”,將改變中國的法治格局。但從目前指導案例在司法實踐中遭受“冷 遇”的情況看,法律界的熱情似乎過於理想化了。

我國早前對案例制度的研究主要憧憬於構建“理想圖景”,對案例適用情況 的原因分析主要有兩個維度。一個維度是規範性研究。認為指導案例之所以未在 司法中發揮多大作用,根本原因在於其沒有相應的約束力,但對如何強化案例的 效力又存在觀點的分殊:賦予指導案例“事實約束力”,或者通過加強指導案例 的制度性權威與實質性權威讓其具有“制度支撐的說服力”,或者是在“法律約 束力”與“事實約束力”之間走一條“中間線路”。從效力角度 供問題解決方 案表面似乎對症下藥,也關注到了案例制度的特殊性,並 出了與傳統判例效力 不同的進路,但與我國案例制度及司法機制存在抵牾,甚至可能陷入政治紛爭。

另一維度是法社會學研究。指導案例之所以未能滿足法官解決“棘手”案件 的實際需求,地方法院有關案例制度的探索因為法院領導變更而“人走政息”, 是因為中國法院的政治化、行政化。法官受到法院內部結構的約束,法院也置身 於當地政治、經濟環境;同時,中國法官並不是單一的職業共同體,而是可以被 區分為政治官僚(法院領導)與普通法官,二者對包括案例制度在內的司法改革 有不同態度和利益取捨。後一維度從法社會學的進路,為司法行政化增添了一個 新例證。“橫看成嶺側成峰,遠近高低各不同”,除了前述法社會學分析與規範分 析,本文嘗試一個新的進路。

本文首先運用了結構功能主義的分析進路。由於司法程式設計方面的重要變 化與權力集中化程度等因素緊密相聯,判決經過逐級遴選、編輯而成案例,完成 了案例的第一次抽象化,正契合了我國親和於科層式的審判組織與現行的審級設 置。其次,筆者較多運用了實證分析的研究方法。從文本設計應然到實踐層面實 然的研究,以經驗實證方法,分析了指導案例在實踐中的“冷遇”,分析了裁判要點如何取代案例完成了案例的第二次抽象,分析了法官在適用案例時的成文法 思維。再次,本文還運用了比較法研究方法,正是在比較我國案例制度特點的基 礎上, 出了本文的命題——司法解釋化的指導案例。同時,在文章對幾個具體 案例及其適用進行分析時,也運用了法解釋學方法。雖然法解釋方法帶有明顯的 規範性特徵,很難達到社會科學研究的最高境界——“驚心動魄的跳躍”,但正 是這種分析避免了論點被標籤化的風險。

全文共七章。第一章“導論:問題的由來與路徑”。主要交待論文的研究背 景、文獻綜述、研究方法與文章結構。

第二章“養在深閨人未識”。本部分通過調查統計、座談與個別訪談,勾勒 了案例制度的現實圖譜。通過“中國裁判文書網”對案例適用情況的統計,發現 案例制度非但沒有以“蝴蝶之翅”改變我國的法治格局,反而遭受了“冷遇”, 不但引用量小,甚至多數案例還“養在深閨人未識”。法官雖然有參考案例辦案 的習慣,但這並不是法官解決疑難案件的優先選項,指導案例也解決不了那些“棘 手”案件的實際問題;雖然案例制度在制度層面上契合了審判權運行機制改革的 要求,包括案例制度在內的司法改革也增強了法院的外部獨立性,但法院內部“由 上而下”的模式並沒有改變。從案例引用方式上看,中國式“遵循先例”具有實 用主義的特點,但前期案例較為“保守”的內容令其與實用主義的需求不匹配; 同時,案例的作用猶如隱型的橋樑,它雖然會在連接案件事實與法律規範時扮演 重要作用,但通常並不為裁判者之外的人所感知。

第三章“從判決到案例”。不像“遵循先例”或者事實拘束力與審級關係有 著天然的聯繫,我國四級兩審的審級特點,使得最高法院缺乏通過終審程式來解 釋並發展法律,為彌補這個缺憾,最高法院只能選擇符合一定標準的四級法院的 判決,通過相關的遴選程式,以最高法院自身的權威將其作為指導案例予以發佈。 遴選的過程脫離了訴訟程式,案例制度也就不可避免染上了科層次的“氣質”: 從判決到案例華麗轉身的過程也是從具體個案正義到相對抽象普遍正義的過程; 案例的形成進一步模糊了審級區別,但卻強化了最高法院的權威。筆者也通過所 在部門一個案件從審理到案例推薦的過程,論述了案件與案例在具體與抽象之間 的顧盼往返。本章的最後部分,通過借助權力組織結構與法律程式關係的分析, 論證了案例由下而上遴選的過程中,從具體到抽象的必然。

第四章“以裁判要點為中心的案例”。裁判要點僅是案例的格式內容之一, 但在整個案例制度中卻具有舉足輕重的地位。裁判要點並不是裁判文書的要點 (裁判摘要),而是體現案例指導意義的裁判規則。不但案例刊物對裁判要點青 睞有加,法官研究案例實際上也是在研究裁判要點的規則,對法官而言案例不過 是如孟德斯鳩所言的“更加精確的法律文本”,雖然盧埃林早就批評此舉“拿走 的是空殼而不是其中的內容”,但法官們依然樂此不疲。作為案例的“點睛之筆”, 裁判要點是案例遴選中的試金石,並直接影響到案例的水準;但是,通過對裁判 要點具體內容的實證分析將發現,目前的裁判要點並沒有超越司法解釋,從形式 與內容上看,裁判要點更像是“零售”的司法解釋。以個案中重要事實和理由來 闡釋法律適用的優勢,在案例中並沒有充分展示出來,裁判要點本身就需要再解 釋。

第五章“以‘同案’實現‘同判’嗎?”。“同案同判”不僅是案例制度應然 的價值追求,同時也是實現指導案例參照作用的應然路徑選擇。本章主要基於對 第 17 號案例適用情況的實證分析,論述案例是否及如何實現“同案同判”。通過 分析,筆者發現指導案例只是在結果意義上部分實現了其價值,法官參照的不是 案例,而是脫離了案情的裁判要點,也即並非以“同案”的方式實現“同判”。 究其原因,案例事實與裁判要點並非是水乳交融式的,案例的重要事實並不是案 例的中心,抽象的裁判要點才是案例的中心;與此相適應,法官在邏輯推理時習 慣於揮舞三段論的魔杖進行演繹,案例的重要事實被忽視了。在此情形下要求法 官通過類比推理參照案例既非其所長,甚至有些強人所難。

第六章“中國式的案例”。只有不僅僅將案例當作與制定法相對應的一種形 式,而是視為一種法律觀念,才能在比較法意義上瞭解指導案例的意義。不同於 在司法過程中自然生成的判例,指導案例是在判決基礎上經過披沙瀝金般遴選, 經過編輯加工而成;它與審級制度聯繫並不緊密,甚至是為了彌補審級制度的缺 陷而產生的一項制度;指導案例對裁判要點過分倚重,而裁判要點更像是“零售” 的司法解釋;法官在適用指導案例的過程中,會習慣性地揮舞司法三段論的魔杖。 與前幾章不同,本章通過與普通法先例、成文法判例比較的角度,論證了案例制 度的特點。

第七章“結論”。在對本文總結的基礎上, 出中國式案例的顯著特徵是以 案例的方式表達了制定法的實質,是司法解釋化的案例。同時,通過對我國案例 特點的研究,揭示了其對於兩大法系融合中“表”與“裡”衝突、司法改革中獨立司法“外”與“內”衝突的理論意義。

總之,指導案例並沒有突顯個案性、具體性與經驗性,而是被打上了明顯的司法解釋烙印,指導案例較之於司法解釋,不過是“五十步笑百步”,面對人們 對司法解釋的批評,指導案例似乎可以“照單全收”。它既沒有引入判例法的思 維,通過 取判決理由、遵循先例原則及原則的例外,實現法律解釋的內生性、 開放性發展,也不像成文法判例制度那樣,通過依附於由審級制度而來的最高法 院裁判權威,促進法律解釋的統一。案例制度的施行,不過是以非司法的運作方 式,在最高法院司法解釋之外,增加了一種抽象法律解釋的供給方式,它“曲意 迎合”我國審級結構的權力配置,也暗合了法官的法律思維。即使如此,它畢竟 是“揚短避長”,面對幾乎是與最高法院地位不相匹配的強勢的司法解釋,其在 司法實務中的適用窘境也就不足為奇。
After being discussed by academic circles, explored by some courts and being listed in the blueprint of judicial reform, the system of guiding cases in China has been finally transformed historically with the formulation of the Provisions on Case Guidance and the official release of the guiding cases. The system of guiding cases, with such hopes as the legal profession invests on it, is called "wings of the butterfly" in China's judicial reform, which will change the state of the rule of law in China. However, the current "cold reception" the guiding cases suffer in judicial practice indicates that the legal profession's enthusiasm seems too idealistic.

In China, the previous studies on the system of guiding cases were mainly designed to form an "ideal picture", and the analysis of reasons for the application of cases exists mainly in two dimensions. One dimension is normative analysis which indicates that the basic reason why guiding cases fail to play a significant role in judicature lies in its lack of corresponding binding force. However, views on how to strengthen the force of cases vary from person to person: some hold that guiding cases shall be given "defacto binding force"; some believe that guiding cases shall be given "persuasiveness with institutional support" by enhancing the institutional and substantive authority of guiding cases; others reckon that creating a "middle way" between "legal binding force" and "defacto binding force" shall also be considered. It seems that the solutions from the perspective of validity sound plausible with consideration of the particularity of the case system and proposing an approach different from the traditional case's force. However, it conflicts with China's guiding cases system and the judicial mechanism, and, even worse, would trigger political disputes.

Another dimension is legal sociology analysis. The reason why guiding cases fail to meet the actual needs of judges in resolving thorny cases and why the exploration of case system in local courts suffers an abrupt end due to their leadership changes is because of politicization and administrativization of Chinese courts. Judges are subject to the internal structure of the court system, and the courts are exposed to the local political and economic environment; besides, Chinese judges are not a single professional community but can be divided into political bureaucrats (court leaders) and ordinary judges, and the two groups have different interest choices and attitudes towards judicial reform including case system. The latter dimension adds a new exemplification to the administration of justice. This paper tends to explore a novel approach that differs from normative analysis and legal sociology analysis.

Firstly, this paper utilizes the analytical approach of structural functionalism. Due to the close connection between significant changes in the judicial procedure and the degree of centralization of the judicial power and other factors, court decisions are transformed into cases through step-by-step selection and compilation, thus the first abstraction of cases completed, which conforms to China's pro-hierarchical judicial organization and current trial-level settings. Secondly, the author uses the research method of empirical analysis. This paper analyzes the "cold reception" of guiding cases in practice and how the adjudication points replace cases to complete the second abstraction of cases, as well as the judges' statutory mode of thinking when applying cases via empirical method from the guiding cases in text to the guiding cases in action. Thirdly, this article takes advantage of the comparison research method and puts forward the proposition - the guiding cases of judicial interpretation based on the comparison of characteristics of China's case systems. At the same time, this paper uses the legal hermeneutic method in analyzing several specific cases and their applications. Although the legal hermeneutic method obviously has a normative feature and it is much less easy to complete the "thrilling jump" - the highest level of social sciences research, it is precisely this kind of analysis that avoids the risk of being labeled.

The paper has seven chapters. The first chapter "introduction: origin and approach of the problem" mainly introduces the research background, literature review, research methods and article structure.

Chapter two uncovers the veil of the buried guiding cases. This section outlines the realistic picture of guiding cases system through investigation statistics, seminars and individual interviews. The statistics of the application of cases on China Judgements Online show that guiding cases system, rather than changing the state of the rule of law in China as "wings of the butterfly" in judicial reform, suffers a "cold reception" instead. Few cases are quoted, and most of them even remain unknown to people. Although judges are getting used to referring to guiding cases, this is not the priority for judges to deal with thorny cases, and guiding cases are not accessible to those "thorny" practical issues. Although guiding cases system, in terms of the institutional level, conforms to the reform of the operating mechanism of judicial power, and the judicial reform, guiding cases system included, has also boosted courts' external independence, the "top-down" model within the courts system has not changed. According to ways of case reference, the Chinese-style "stare decisis" has the characteristics of pragmatism. However, the previous relative conservative cases do not match the demand of pragmatism. Meantime, the case is an invisible bridge which plays an important role in connecting the facts of cases with the norms of law. However, this also means that it can be hardly perceived by people except judges.

Chapter three is the selection of guiding cases: "From Decisions to Cases". Unlike the "stare decisis" or "defacto binding force" which is inherently linked to the system of judicial level, the features of the hierarchical judicial system in China lead to the Supreme People's Court's lack of the procedure to interpret and develop the law through the final court procedure. To make up for this shortcoming, the court can only choose the decisions by courts at the four level that meet a certain standard and release them as guiding cases via the relevant selective procedure based on its own authority. As the selection process is not limited by the proceedings, guiding cases system is inevitably infected with the temperament of hierarchy: the process of glowing turning from decisions to cases also symbolizes the transition from the specific justice of case to relatively abstract general justice. The formation of guiding cases further blurs the distinction of each judicial level, but strengthens the authority of the Supreme People's Court. Through the process of a real case selection in his division, from the trial to the recommendation, the author discusses the shuttling of the case between the concrete and the abstract. In the last part of this chapter, this paper demonstrates the inevitability of transferring from the concrete to the abstract in the bottom-up selection process by resorting to the analysis of the relationship between the organizational structure of the power and the legal procedure.

Chapter four discusses "the guiding cases centered on the adjudication points". Although the adjudication points are only a part of format contents of a case, but it plays a decisive role in the entire guiding cases system. Adjudication points are not the points of judgment documents (judicial abstract), but the adjudication rules that reflect the guiding significance of the case. Not only do legal journals favor adjudication points, but also judges are actually studying rules of adjudication points in the case study. Because for judges, the case is no more than the "more precise legal text" as Montesquieu put it. Although Karl N. Llewellyn has criticized that what it obtained is the shell rather than the content of the case, judges are still willing to do it. As the "finishing touch" of the case, adjudication points are the touchstones in case selection process and directly affect the quality of the case. However, via the empirical analysis of the specific contents of adjudication points, it is not hard to find that the current adjudication points do not overstep the judicial interpretation but are more like retail judicial interpretations in the form and content. If advantages of the application of law have not been fully demonstrated by the important facts and reasons in the case, the adjudication points itself need to be reinterpreted.

Chapter five analyzes "Should ‘Like Case' be ‘decided alike'?" The author answered in the fifth chapter that "like Case should be decided alike (tong an tong pan)" is not only the value that guiding cases system should pursue, but also the path to realize the reference function of guiding cases. This chapter, mainly based on the empirical analysis of the application of Guiding Case No.17, discusses whether and how Like Cases are decided alike. Through the analysis, the author finds that guiding cases only partially realize its value in the sense of results and what judges refer to are not the cases, but the adjudication points that divorce from the cases, which means Like Cases are not decided alike. The reason is that guiding cases and adjudication points are not integrated as a whole, and it is the abstract adjudication points rather than the important facts that are the core of the case. Correspondingly, judges are used to using judicial syllogism (deductive reasoning) during the legal logical reasoning, and the important facts of the case are ignored. Under such circumstances, judges cannot be required or forced to refer to cases by analogy.

Chapter Six introduces "Chinese-style Cases". Only when the case is not only regarded as a corresponding form of statutory law, but as a legal concept, can we understand the meaning of guiding cases in the sense of comparative law. Different from the civil cases or precedents that are naturally formed in the judicial process, guiding cases are selected out through a rigorous process and compiled on the basis of decisions. The system of guiding cases is not closely linked to the trial-level system, but rather it is designed to make up for the defects of the trial-level system. However, guiding cases overly depend on the adjudication points, while the adjudication points are more like 'retail' judicial interpretations. In the course of applying the guiding cases, judges are used to using judicial syllogism. Different from the previous chapters, this chapter demonstrates the apparent features of the case system in comparison with common law precedents and statutory precedents.

Chapter Seven is the "Conclusions". On the basis of summarizing this paper, the author develops that the distinguishing feature of guiding cases is to express the essence of statutory law by the way of cases, which have been assimilated into judicial interpretations. Simultaneously, the study of the characteristics of guiding cases in China reveals the theoretical significance of the "external" and "internal" conflicts in the process of the integration of two legal systems as well as the "outside" and "inside" conflicts of independent judiciary in judicial reform.

In short, guiding cases fail to highlight the nature of the individual case study, and to be specific and empirical, but have been branded with the mark of judicial interpretations. Due to the inherent flaws, guiding cases are no better than judicial interpretations. It seems that the guiding cases deserve all of the criticisms on judicial interpretations. It neither introduces the thinking of case law which achieves the endogenous and open development of judicial interpretation by extracting ratio decidendi, stare decisis doctrine and the exceptions to the doctrine, nor does it promote the unity of judicial interpretation like the statutory case system which relies on the supreme court's authority based on the trial-level system. The implementation of the guiding cases system is no more than adding an abstract way of providing judicial interpretations besides the traditional judicial interpretations of the Supreme People's Court in the non-judicial mode of operation. It indirectly caters to the power allocation of the trial-level structure in China and coincides with the legal thinking of judges. Instead of making best use of the advantages and bypassing disadvantages, it is not surprising that its application in judicial practice of the guiding cases is in a dilemma, compared with the strong judicial interpretations that are almost incompatible with the position of the Supreme People's Court.