To help the juvenile offenders, our legal system has implemented the court-appointed assistant system since 2007, revising Juvenile Act. The purposes of this study are consisted of three parts. The first purpose is to survey the actual operation of the court-appointed assistant system. The second, we caught the current operational problems. At last, we suggested systematic improvement plans regarding issues exposed through this research.
This study includes five primary contents: Overview about the domestic and foreign legislations related with the court-appointed assistant system(chapter 2), Statistical analysis of the survey of court-appointed assistants(chapter 3), Statistical analysis of the survey of juveniles seeing court-appointed assistants(chapter 4), Qualitative research of the in-depth interview of court-appointed assistants, juvenile-court judges, juvenile classification review board investigators, and juveniles imprisoned in classification centers(chapter 5), comparative analysis with surveys(chapter 6).
The principal research methods are as follows: literature research of foreign cases, survey of court-appointed assistants(249 persons), survey of juveniles imprisoned in institutions(1,227 persons), in-depth interview of courtappointed assistants, juvenile-court judges, juvenile classification review board investigators, and juveniles imprisoned in classification centers.
According to the analysis of research, discovered features associated with system management are in following:
The first, at present court-appointed assistants are consisted of 70% lawyers and 30% experts in areas of youth problems such as counsellors, professors, juvenile guidance commissioners etc. In addition, most of court-appointed assistants are males, from 30s to 40s, and volunteers applying to a courtappointed assistant after seeing court notice.
The second, there are great differences in work activities among courtappointed assistants. These differences are originated from gender, occupation, and region etc. By gender, females’ activities are more outstanding than males’ and by occupation, youth experts’ works are noticeable. Particularly the result shows the fact that court-appointed assistant’s operation are carried out well in Pusan, Ulsan and Gyeongnam state. The level of satisfaction of juveniles met court-appointed assistants are higher in Pusan, Ulsan and Gyeongnam state than other areas and higher in female assistants than males. The cases of high level of satisfaction are appeared in devoting time and effort to interview with juveniles.
The third, at present the court-appointed assistant system is been operating variously by region. Moreover court-appointed assistants and juvenile-court judges of each region don’t know much current condition of the courtappointed assistant system operation in other states. This study shows there is mutual interchange among of court-appointed assistants in some areas, but most of them don’t perform mutual interchange and don’t know each other.
The forth, there is a large gap between the level of self-assessment of court-appointed assistants and assessment and the level of assessment by juveniles. Though there are gender and regional differences, in principle court-appointed assistants’ works are not received favorable evaluations by interviewed juveniles.
The results of this research show many problems in the current courtappointed assistant system. So we are trying to suggest some improvement plans. They may be summarized as follow:
The first, we suggest that the current court-appointed assistants ought to keep in touch with the good cases, learn various experiences each other through sharing data. It is important that same mistakes are not repeated. This study discovered a couple of mistakes, problems and faults in operating the court-appointed assistant system. So court-appointed assistants should learn many experiences and correct their mistakes and problems. They can follow the example of Pusan, Ulsan and Gyeongnam state in trying to devote much effort to their works.
The second, the education of the court-appointed assistants is important, but it is not sufficient. Many of the court-appointed assistants are not participating in the education course. If at all, the contents of the course are mere formal. Through sharing various experiences, court-appointed assistants can gain practical experiences of the works. And it is necessary in making good results.
The third, we need to build the institutional framework to raise specialty of court-appointed assistants. In USA, National Juvenile Defender Center(NJDC) has established Juvenile Defense Standards and been operating various training programs to specialize career of court-appointed assistant based on the Standards. This case may be considered as measure to specialize qualification of court-appointed assistant in juvenile justice process of ours.
Finally, current our court-appointed assistant system is criticized for being operated unsystematically. So the guidelines to operate the system efficiently should be arranged. Japan legislated Instructions at work of Court-appointed assistants and in the law, general rules and regulations about operating the system, for example works and pay, are provided. These foreign systems and laws are full of suggestions and implications to us.