Coherent Constitutions and the Right to Social Protection for Adopted Children in Taiwan

Country: China, Taiwan
Body: Judicial Yuan (Constitutional Interpretation Agency) (China)
Case number: Interpretation No. 549
Year of judgement: 2002

The Judicial Yuan, a body responsible for interpreting the Constitution, examined the constitutionality of provisions in the Statute for Labor Insurance preventing children adopted within less than six months of the death of their adoptive parents from collecting social insurance benefits as survivors. The Court held that despite the intentions of the provision to prevent potential insurance fraud, the provisions in question should be reviewed in order to comply with the state’s fundamental national policies on labor protection and implementation of social security. According to the Constitutional Interpretation Agency, the transferal of social security is based on the needs of survivors and is not subject to the same terms as private property in that it relates directly to the “ethical relationship” between the insured and those that they provided for while alive. Therefore, the qualifying conditions should be based on the ethical relationship and the principle of taking care of the survivors who are unable to provide for themselves after the death of the insured.

It was ordered that the provision be amended within two years of the published interpretation, in order to become more consistent with the stated purpose of the Statute and international labour standards and the pension plan of the social security system.


International law and the overall objectives of international labour standards, social security standards for this case, were used to interpret domestic provisions. One judge, in his concurring opinion referred specifically to the critical role of international labour standards to promote and protect human rights and stated that they should be used as a legal source in the interpretation of national laws.

In this case, the right to social security of dependents of deceased persons was protected against potentially detrimental qualifying conditions.


Date of Views: 2 August 2002, [Link to official record]

Social Protection and Human Rights