Constitutional Court Upholds Cellphone Ban While Driving

Long term foreign residents will note that the Korean Constitutional Court has upheld the rule banning the use of cellphones while driving. The court ruling stipulates that the ban isn’t a violation of the Korean Constitution. Using cellphones while driving increases the risk of traffic accident and should be banned to protect the life, body, and property of the people. The law allows certain exceptions that permit the use of cellphones in emergency situations, minimizing unecessary inconvenience. Korean Constitutional Court’s

Continue reading

Defamation on the Internet is a Criminal Offense in Korea

“Think before you click” is a social media campaign in Korea. Please note the truth is not an absolute defense to defamation in Korea. Additionally, defamation can lead to civil and criminal liability. The following article details Defamation Crimes and potential penalties. If you are interested to read more about defamation, please read our other articles at: Defamation on Trial and Definition of Defamation in Korea. The two primary laws that punish the crime of defamation committed orally, by means

Continue reading

Deportation after COVID-19 Quarantine Violations in Korea

This week a bill was submitted by Korean politicians to make the deportation process easier for the Korean government to deport foreign nationals accused of submitting false testing information for COVID-19. The COVID pandemic remains an emotive issue in Korea as cases have been steadily rising domestically over this Winter season. Political leaders, within Korea, have had a long history of using the foreign population as an easy target to win the hearts and minds of the public when times

Continue reading

Korea’s New Electronic Passport Without Resident Registration Number in 2020

The Amendment to the Korean Passport Act introduces a new Korean Electronic Passport. The passport excludes the Resident Registration Number and establishes a new system in order to ease administrative work of the government. This Amendment shall become effective in 2020. The Passport Act of the Republic of Korea According to Art. 7 Passport Act every Korean passport shall include: Type of passport; Issuing state; Passport number; Date of issuance and expiration; Issuing authority; Name of the passport-holder; Nationality of

Continue reading

Revision to the Laws & Regulations on Ecosystem-Disturbing Species in the Republic of Korea in 2019

In order to increase the control on certain species like ‘ecosystem-disturbing species’, which are considered to be harmful to the ecosystem of the Republic of Korea, when it is planned to import and introduce them to the ecological environment of Korea, the Chairman of the Environment and Labor Committee proposed the Amendment to the Korean Act on the Conservation and Use of Biological Diversity (hereinafter as “Act on Biological Diversity”) on September 20, 2018. The new provisions of the Amendment

Continue reading

“Fine Dust” as Socially-Generated Natural Disaster – Amendment to the Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety 2019

As a further reaction to the fine dust-issue in Korea, the Chair of Korea’s Public Administration and Security Committee proposed an Amendment to the Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety (hereinafter a “Act on Management of Disasters”) on March 13, 2019. The regulation shall become effective upon promulgation. The major legal change is the “damages caused by fine dust” as a being defined as a “socially-generated natural disaster.” Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety

Continue reading

Amendment to the Korean Protection of Military Bases and Installations Act 2019

The Amendment to the Protection of Military Bases and Installations Act of Korea was proposed by the Korean Chair of the National Defense Committee on April 4, 2019 and shall become effective in the autumn of 2019. The Amendment stipulates the extension of the scope of “protection zones” within a military base or installation in Korea and amends the process to remove the status as a “protection zone” with the return of the concerning military base or installation to the

Continue reading

Korean Cryptocurrency Case Filed to the Korean Constitutional Court: Korean Bitcoin Updates

The author of this blog, formerly worked for the Constitutional Court of Korea and he is excited to see this matter being litigated in Korean courts.  The issue, as I have always noted, is simply if government are willing to protect the freedom of individuals to trade and speculate in asset classes of the choosing of the investor.  While, I am far from sold on Bitcoin (and other Alt Currencies) as a long-term asset class plays – of course any

Continue reading

Korea Increases Penalties For Data Breach and Unauthorized Transfer of Data: Korea Communications Commission

In March 2016 Korea made amendments to its Act on the Promotion of Information & Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection (“Act”). The purpose of the Act is to both facilitate the utilization of information and communications networks and regulate for the protection of personal information including that of users of online service providers.  “Online service provider” includes any commercial website operator or telecommunications service provider; and “user” is defined as any person that uses the information and communications services

Continue reading

Korean Court Upholds Expulsion of Law Student at Judicial Research & Training Institute for Adultery

A male law student, expelled from the Judicial Research and Training Institute for having an affair with another law student, has just had his appeal to be reinstated denied. The male student’s mother-in-law made the situation public after her daughter committed suicide after finding out about the affair. The male law student was charged with adultery and expelled from the JRTI.  Although he was found guilty in a lower court of adultery, during the course of his appeal, the Constitutional

Continue reading

South Korea’s Military Conscription Law Challenged by Religious Conscientious Objectors

South Korea’s mandatory military conscription law is once again being challenged by religious conscientious objectors. The Constitutional Court held a public hearing on Thursday to determine whether religious objectors to military service are still subject to the same punishments that are given to other citizens who refuse to perform their military service. South Korean law mandates that citizens who refuse to perform military service, without a valid reason, are subject to imprisonment for up to three years. Currently, religious conscientious

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Korea is a Country of the Future – and Always Will Be by John Lee

John Lee at The Korean Foreigner has a great post today related to Korea’s step back in time.  He, kindly, allowed me to post his article on my blog.  “On December 18th 2014, IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, opened its first Korean branch in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province. The store is 25,759 square-meters (approximately 277,267 square-feet) in size and it is accessible via train and three inter-city express highways. It would appear that IKEA’s business is booming. So much so

Continue reading

Selection of Justices at the Constitutional Court Fundamentally Flawed?

The Korean Constitutional Court has established a research institute that has, recently, criticized the appointment system at the Constitutional of Court of Korea. The Court has nine justices that are all appointed by the nation’s President.  However, three of the justices are selected by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,  three are selected by the National Assembly and three are directly selected and appointed by the nation’s President.  This Constitutional Court research institute has criticized this system as, potentially,

Continue reading

The Korean Law Blog cited by the Washington Post on the Freedom of the Press in Korea

We are proud to note that The Korean Law Blog was cited by the Washington Post on an article discussing the Freedom of the Press in Korea.  The article quoted our translation and comments on a landmark Supreme Court case on the issue of the freedom of speech in Korea. The Washington Post article may be found at: In South Korea, journalists fear a government clampdown on the press. The article notes, in part, that: “In the 27 years since

Continue reading

CLIENT ALERT: Advice to the Press, Bloggers & Corporations Concerning Free Speech Protection in Korea

Cheong Wa Dae (Korea’s Office of the President) has been instrumental in the filing of 13 lawsuits against media sources.  Six cases are still pending including cases against reporters/media from: Hankyoreh (Korean Liberal-leaning newspaper); Segye Ilbo (Korean Conservative-leaning newspaper); Chosun Ilbo (Korean Conservative-leaning newspaper); Sankei Shimbun (Japanese Conservative-leaning newspaper); CBS News; and A Sisa. The majority of the cases were filed by officials at Cheong Wa Dae or by a conservative civil group that supports President Park Geun-hye. Reporters, corporate

Continue reading

Defamation Law Under Korean Law

As an attorney educated in the United States, one of the greatest differences I’ve noticed between the Korean and American legal systems is in the area of defamation. Back in the US, the extent to which speech can be curbed by the law is tempered by First Amendment protections.  US law protects truthful statements and even false statements, when in the form of parody, hyperbole, or not with malice etc. In the case of potentially defamatory speech, the burden falls

Continue reading

Investor-State Disputes/Arbitration in Korea: ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine

The American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Magazine has an interesting article on Investor-State Disputes that is relevant to Korea.  The article appears in the Fall 2013 edition of the magazine. Some of the “top” law firms in Korea have been notoriously conflicted – thus leading to choices made in agreements that are less than favorable to clients.  This has led, in part, to South Korea being perceived as not a foreign-friendly destination for direct investment.  Additionally, the courts, recently, invalidated

Continue reading

Enforcement Decrees are Becoming more Common in South Korea

The Park Administration’s usage of enforcement decrees, an executive decision-making process that allows the administration to bypass the National Assembly, has been steadily increasing according to a new article from The Hankyoreh. The article mentions that appeals filed at the Constitutional Court seeking relief from enforcement decrees have shot up from a low of 46 in 2006 to 87 in 2012.  From the article: “Enforcement decrees are often used to overpower the law for political ends. Perhaps the most prominent

Continue reading

Should UPP be Banned in Korea? Korea Government Files to Court to deregister Pro-North Party

The Park Administration as filed to the Constitutional Court of Korea a complaint to disband the leftist UPP.  The petition claims that the party engaged in pro-North Korea activities.  The case, also, calls for the immediate suspension of six of the lawmakers of the party. Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn noted to the press that:  “We have determined that the UPP’s platform and its objectives are intended to favor North Korean socialism, which goes against the free democratic basic order of

Continue reading