Korean Prosecutors & Police Powers under Amended Criminal Procedure Law

One of the most substantial changes in the powers between the Prosecutors’ Office and Police Office was enacted by the Korean National Assembly through amendments to the Korean Criminal Procedure Act and Prosecutors’ Office Act. These Amendments were made to the Criminal Procedure Act of Korea and the Prosecutors’ Office Act of Korea that shall take effect in 2021. The Amendment reduce the power of the Korean Prosecutions to initiate investigations in certain types of cases, while expanding the powers

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Korea’s Fairness in Subcontracting Transactions Act Amendments of July 2021

The Korean National Assembly passed a bill in July of 2021 that amends the Fairness in Subcontracting Transactions Act (“Subcontracting Act”). The Act makes major changes with regard to discovery in litigation and aims to protect the intellectual property/confidential data/technical data (“Technical Data”) of subcontractors from poaching by prime contractors. For another article on Korea’s Subcontracting Act please see: Fair Transactions in Subcontracting Act of Korea: So Buyer Beware or Simply Avoid the Risk and Buy the Seller. 2021 Amendments

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International Arbitrations in Korea under the IBA Rules

Procedural Arbitration rules are key to the efficient and effective adjudication of arbitration disputes in Korea and, also, worldwide.  These arbitration rules govern and set out the framework for the arbitration process. Evidence gathering and presentation are important aspects of the above procedure, and yet, institutional and ad hoc rules that provide arbitration guidelines on other matters such as the appointment of arbitrators and the nature of award and costs are, usually, silent on this point. Advantages of such a

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Whistleblower Protections in Korea Expanded through revised Whistleblower Protection Act

Korea’s Whistleblower Protection Act is, often, criticized for having a too limited scope, since it narrowly covered specific iterated Korean government statutes. Thus, many in Korea have pushed for an expansion of the law to cover a more broad range of Korean laws. With this reality in mind, the Korean Whistleblower Protection Act was expanded to cover 467 statutes up from the prior 284 statutes. The amendment was effective since November of 2020. This Amendment led to many Korean government

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Wrongful Termination in South Korea

South Korea is not an “at-will” employment country which means that employer may not dismiss an employee for any reason nor without warning or notice. And under the Labor Standard Act, an employer who has five or more employees may not dismiss or suspend from work any of its employee without justifiable cause. And even with the presence of justifiable cause for dismissal, the employer is still required to give a minimum of 30 days advance notice to the employee

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New Korean Corruption Investigative Unit Established to Investigate High-Ranking Public Officials in Korea

Korean established a new investigative unit with the independent power to investigate High-Ranking Public Officials, family members of High-Ranking Public Officials and those associated in alleged crimes with High-Ranking Public Officials. This office shall be called the Corruption Investigation Office (“CIO”) for High-Ranking Public Officials. This independent investigative agency’s scope of power includes the investigation of the President of Korea, members of the Korean National Assembly, prosecutors, judges, senior public officials (Rank of Grade III or higher) and some senior

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SsangYong Motors files for Bankruptcy in Korea

It isn’t just foreign companies that have a robust history with Korea’s militant labor unions. The troubles of GM Korea and SsangYong Motors have been well documented over the last decade. This week SsangYong Motors finally succumbed to the pressures of the Korean market. The company filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on loan repayments of 60 billion won ($54.4m USD). SsangYong is unlikely to receive further government support, with the national government unlikely to step in to provide aid for

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Korea’s Legal Measures to Reduce Fine Dust Pollution

The Korean Special Act on Fine Dust Abatement and Management (hereinafter as “Special Act on Fine Dust”) entered into force on February 15, 2019. The law, primarily, focus is restricting producers of fine dust to reduce the fine dust level in Korea. The Special Act on Fine Dust defines different types of dust and enables officials to set certain fine dust reduction measures. Legal Definitions of Fine Dust The Special Act on Fine Dust provides definitions of “fine dust,” “micro-fine

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Calculation of Korean Hourly Wage Rate under the Minimum Wage Act of Korea

Korea’s minimum wage as per the Korean Minimum Wage Act in 2019 is determined by the Minister of Employment & Labor as KRW 8,350 per hour. The latest decisions of the Supreme Court developed a calculation standard/method for determining an hourly wage rate that is not in line with the opinion of the Ministry of Employment & Labor. In many such cases, a Ministry, simply, pushes to amend the law. This matter is important, since the standard hourly wage rate

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Korea Due Diligence for Joint Ventures, Licensing, OEMs and Buying a Korean Company

Intending to execute a joint venture agreement with a Korean company? Buying a Korean company? Licensing technology to a Korean company? OEM with a Korean supplier? Selling to a Korean company?Before going to bed with a Korean company (or individual) do a little due diligence.  The motivation for this article is an article by my friends over at the China Law Blog. Due diligence in Korea is not much different than due diligence in China.  However, don’t forget what is

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Starting a Manufacturing Business in South Korea: Top 14 Things to Know Before you Start a Business in Korea

Korea, in most cases, is a much better choice for the manufacturing of chemical, petroleum, construction equipment, complex crafted metals, specialty steel, automotive parts, semi-conductor, medical and pharmaceutical equipment and goods than China and most nations in Asia, because of Korea’s skilled work force, government incentives and increasingly transparent business practices. In many cases, manufacturing in Korea will not, in the end, be more costly than manufacturing in China, because of the increased efficiency of Korean workers and the, often,

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Distribution Agreements in Korea: Crawl before you Walk

Prior to going into any relationship with a distributor/agent in Korea, please read my post entitled: Finding a Korean Distributor: The Top 10 Things to Know Before Going to Bed with a Distributor in Korea. Please read that post in combination with this post, prior to engaging a distributor in Korea. We see too many Korean distribution and agency agreements that are mere spun U.S. or European agreements.  Please have your Korean distribution agreement and all agreements you have in Korea drafted

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Distribution Agreement in Korea: Factors to Always Keep in Mind

Prior to going into any relationship with a distributor/agent in Korea, please read my post entitled: Finding a Korean Distributor: The Top 10 Things to Know Before Going to Bed with a Distributor in Korea. Please read that post in combination with this post, prior to engaging a distributor. We see too many distribution agreements that are mere spun U.S. distribution or agent agreements. Please have your distribution agreement and all agreements you have in Korea drafted by an experienced

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Non-Registered Company Director (Executive Director/Senior Managerial Worker) in Korea deemed Employee under Korean Labor & Employment Law

Article 27 of the Labor Standards Act of Korea stipulates that all “employees” must be notified in writing of the reason for dismissal.  In most cases, 30-days notice or 30-days pay in lieu of notification is required.  Employees may, also, only, be terminated for “fault attributable to the employee” or “urgent managerial necessity.”  The burden is on the employer to prove “justifiable grounds for termination.”  All good proactive employment lawyers in Korea have detailed programs in place that assist in justifying

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Korean Workplace Discrimination Laws

There are numerous Korean labor and employment laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees in a Korean workplace. These Korean workplace discrimination laws are found in a myriad of Korean statutes and regulations. This article on Korea’s discrimination laws shall provide a quick guide as to where employers and employees can locate the basic requirements under law. The major pieces of legislation are the following: the Korean Labor Standards Act; the Korean Equal Employment Opportunity Act; the Korean

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How to Invest in Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs): Korean Market Entry

Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs) are specially designated areas designed to improve the business and living environments for foreign firms looking to invest in Korea. In 2003, Korea’s very first KFEZ was launched in Incheon following the passing of the adoption of the “Act on Designation and Management of the Free Economic Zones.” Since then an additional seven have begun operation, bringing the grand total of KFEZs in Korea to eight. Companies with business in KFEZs are eligible for tax

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Korean Smart City Opportunities for Foreign and Domestic Companies Doing Business in Korea

The Korean government’s “2020 Smart Challenge” is officially rolling out with the Act on the Promotion of Smart City Development and Industry of Korea. The Act is coming into effect on Feb. 27, 2020. The Korean government is, specifically, launching three separate projects called: Korean City Challenge Open to large, SMEs and startup companies. Intended to encourage creative and technological solutions to problems in cities. Smart-mobility may be a large focus of the governments initiative. Korean Town Challenge Open to

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Korea prepares itself for Big Data-driven 4th Industrial Revolution: Korean Data Protection Laws Revised

On January 9, 2020, the National Assembly of Korea passed the “Three Data Act” of Korea. Implementation of the Act shall begin in June of 2020. The Korean Three Data Act iterates protections for, in general: personal information; information and communication; and business & individual credit information. IPG shall be writing more on this data protection issue over the next couple of months, please check back for more details. Three Data Act of Korea According to an article entitled the

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52-Hour Workweek Delayed in Korea for SMEs: Korean Labor Law Update

The Korean government delayed the implementation of the 52-hour workplace system for certain small and medium size companies. This System is intended to apply to all companies in Korea and mandates that no employee may work for an employer for more than 52-hours in any one week. The Ministry of Employment and Labor of Korea announced, on December 11, 2019, that the 52-hour workplace system is suspended for SMEs (Employers with less than 300 workers) until the end of 2020.

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Korean Waste Control Act Amendments of 2019

As a reaction to several accidents in waste storage facilities, the Korean National Assembly passed an an Amendment to the Korean Waste Control Act on March 28, 2019. The amendment puts in place, a more transparent measures and rules for waste-storage facilities. Major Amendments to the Korean Wastes Control Act Set of safety measures for waste-collecting vehicles. More specific safety rules for waste-storage facilities. Implementation by the Korean Ministry of Environment to conduct an annual safety inspection and survey on

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