6/18/2015

Korean Administrative Court Stands Up for the Right to Assemble: Korea Queer Culture Festival

The Seoul Administrative Court has ruled in favor of the organizers of the Korea Queer Culture Festival in a case concerning the right to a permit to assemble.

Because of the very vocal opposition of fundamentalist Christian groups, the NamDaeMoom Police refused to grant a permit to assemble.  These fundamentalist Christian groups argued, and the NamDaeMoon Police Department agreed, that amongst other things, that these Christian groups opposition to the event and the event itself will cause severe traffic disruptions and may lead to damage to the public safety (e.g. clashes between the religious group and festival attendants).

The Court opined that a permit to assemble may only be denied when public safety is "directly" threatened and only as a "last resort."  The Court noted, inter alia, that in the present case, no indication of a direct threat to public safety was established and the measure was too extreme.

The parade will be held on June 28.

The case is a landmark decision in Korea's Constitutional Law.  The Korean Courts, in recent years, have stepped-in to prohibit the administration from abusing its discretion in many areas of public participation including the right to assemble.
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.

Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw. Sean's profile may be found at: Sean C. Hayes