English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys shall never push to you useless memos, non-nuanced legal advice or get you into litigation without an honest assessment of

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Guardianship Law in Korea: The Lotte Family Conservatorship Saga Continues

With news late in 2016 that the Seoul Family Court Appointed a Law Firm as Legal Guardian for Shin Kyuk Ho, founder of Lotte Group, and the negative effect the ruling had on his elder son’s efforts to regain control of the conglomerates, it is a good time for business owners and their families to understand what guardianship law may mean for businesses and families in Korea. Guardianship Law in Korea The Adult Guardianship Act of 2011 of Korea in the main law, in Korea, creating a Guardianship/Conservatership System in Korea. Under the Guardianship Act of Korea, a family court,

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Enforceability of Korean Executed Holographic/Handwritten Wills in Korea

Holographic wills are enforceable in Korea under Article 1066 of the Civil Act of Korea.  Our law firm is, presently, handling a matter concerning the estate of a decadent where the decadent executed a handwritten (holographic) will and the inheritors are Korean and foreign nationals. Holographic Wills This is a common issue for lawyers at our firm to handle – with the exception of the handwritten will issue. We, rarely, see cases, these days, of a testator that has executed a handwritten will.  This, however, was not so rare in the not so distant past. We, highly, recommend not utilizing

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Wills, Trusts, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Living Wills, and Power of Attorneys in Korea

We receive many calls requesting the notarization of wills, living wills, general and specific power of attorneys, prenuptial agreements and other like agreements and documents in Korea.  These documents are, often, just pulled from the internet. We, sometimes, notarize these agreements for clients, however, in most cases we refer the client to their local embassy in Seoul, since the embassy stamp has a far less chance of not being recognized in the foreign jurisdiction than a Korean notarial stamp and, also, advise a redraft of the document. This post was not written to tell you not to call me about

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Security on Movable Property and Receivables in Korea

Security on Movable Property and Receivables Bill in Korea The Ministry of Justice has recently announced a draft bill concerning the securitization of movables and receivables. The Bill has been pushed for strongly by SMEs. SME’s have complained, since the 1997 Currency Crisis that they are unable to adequately capitalize at market rates. Representatives of the IMF, that I spoke with a few years back, also were very keen on this type of bill. They believed that this Bill will help foster SMEs and new entrant’s potential for innovation and growth. At present, over 92% of securitized lending is through

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Proposed Amendment to Real Estate Development Business Act of Korea: Rating of Real Estate Development Projects

In an attempt to avoid additional failures in the Korean real estate market, the Korean government at the end of July 2013, proposed revisions to the  Real Estate Development Business Act of Korea. The revisions would, inter alia,: 1.  Give authority to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (“MLIT”) to select a agency of real estate experts (“Agency of Experts”) to verify private ratings.  The specifics of this Agency of Experts scheme would be designated by a President Decree.  The purpose of the revision is to have an analysis by a true “neutral.”  As in most cases, the devil

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Korean Tourism Infrastructure Improving: Special Act for the Expansion of Tourism Accommodation

The Korean Tourism Organization under the leadership of a German-born non-ethnic Korean is the greatest reason for the increase in the number of tourists in Korea.  The KTO has been transformed from a government black hole into a vibrant organization with a bold vision. One of the most significant issues for tourists visiting Korea, because of the drastic increase in tourism over the past few years, has been the lack of adequate accommodation. Seoul is notorious for having, during peak times of the year, a lack of adequate business class rooms.  The situation is even more dire in many of

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Korean Home Prices Too Low? A big NO WAY by Tom Coyner

It will soon be that dreaded time again for me – the renegotiation of my apartment lease. Thankfully, it happens just once every two years, but it is a real pain. The silver lining to this biannual cloud is that it forces me to look more closely at the Korean housing market, an important factor in most economic considerations. At first brush, Korean real estate is as loopy as any foreigner may surmise about anything in the Korean economy. First of all, there is a glut of slow-moving, unoccupied apartments – and yet prices remain artificially high. This is partially

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Renewal Rights/Terms for Commercial Leases in Korea Under Amended Commercial Building Lease Protection Act of Korea

The Commercial Building Lease Protection Act (“CBLP”) came into force on August 13, 2013.  The amendments, mentioned below, will solely come into force for leases entered into after August 13, 2013.  The changes will assist those with large deposits from getting the boot by a landlord based on no apparent reasons.  Renewal/Terms for Commercial Tenants with Deposits over KRW 300million  (Major Tenants) Under the former CBLP, tenants with deposits of over KRW 300,000,000 (For Seoul) were not protected with the right to renewal of a commercial lease.  The Presidential Decree to the CBLP proscribes who is a “major tenant” based

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Environmental Impact Statements in Korea: New Korean Environmental Impact Assessment Regime

In the third quarter of 2012, the amended Environmental Impact Assessment Act (“EIAA”) was implemented.  After the enactment, environmental impact assessments are no longer governed by both the Framework Act on Environmental Policy and the EIAA, thus, eliminating a great deal of confusion caused by inconsistencies in the acts. Major revisions include: 1.  Implementation of Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments and Small-Scale Environmental Impact Assessment over Prior Environmental Review under Framework Act on Environmental Policy The EIAA has abandoned the use of Prior Environmental Review under the Framework Act on Environmental Policy in favor of the often more clear and consistent

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Incheon to Turn an Island into the New Macau: I will believe it when I see it

The Korea Times has reported that Incheon City government has plans to transform two islands into a gambling, leisure and entertainment park larger in size than Macau.  The Korea Times note, in part, that: The large-scale development project, designed to turn two islands inside the Incheon free economic zone into a world-class leisure hub, is expected to cost 317 trillion won ($288 billion) and take about 20 years to complete. Incheon city unveiled a blueprint for the envisioned leisure complex, dubbed “8City,’’ at the Shilla Hotel in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. In November 2006, Incheon signed a memorandum of understanding with

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Korail vs.Lotte: Lesson for Investors in Korea

A promising development project may be scrapped because of a peculiar battle for control between a Korean conglomerate and a Korean government-controlled enterprise.  The feud is a lesson for investors who believe that investing in a project with the involvement of the Korean government will assist in guaranteeing success.  Often the involvement of Korean government enterprises overly complicates matters and leads to power struggles between the “experts” and the government.  Because of Korean government realities, however, often the involvement of a Korean government enterprise is required.  This project is an exciting project for many of our domestic clients struggling in

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The Koreans are Coming: Hana Financial to Acquire Majority Share in U.S. Broadway National Bank

Hana Financial has announced that it will purchase 71% of Broadway National Bank’s holding company.  Broadway National Bank is a New York-based bank that tailors its services to Korean clients. Hana Financial is one of Korea’s largest retail and investment banks.  The main purpose of the acquisition is to expand Hana’s retail operations to the U.S. market.__________Sean Hayes, IPG’s Co-Chair of the Korea Practice Team, may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. info@ipglegal.com.

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Non-Acceptance of Government Report Grounds for an Appeal to Korean Court

Over the past decade, Korea has liberalized its government permit system and has required, in many more instances, only a report or notification to be filed with the government for many activities that previously required approval of a relevant Korean government authority. Even with the change, however, the Korean bureaucracy has, often, been unwilling to give up its power and has simply rejected reports, thus, in reality rejecting the anticapted activity. In a Supreme Court case handed down late last year (2008 Du 167), the Supreme Court of Korea ruled in a case concerning a construction report, that the non-acceptance

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Korean Investment in Asia and the West is on the Decline

A few news sources, including Law Times, have announced the financial crisis is curtailing Korean company’s investments abroad. Kumho Tire has announced that it will suspend the building of a tire plant in Georgia. The project was scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2009. Kia motors will likely not go forward with a $1 billion assembly plant in Georgia. Posco Steel planed to continue its plans of building a $12 billion mill in India and a $5million mill in Vietnam. However, news has spread that the plans were scraped because of disputes with the governments. I have

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Lack of Office Space in Seoul

Lack of Office Space in Seoul By Sean Hayes (Korea Times 11-26-2008) Korea, in this global economic turmoil, must become a more attractive location for foreign investors. The answer to attracting more foreign capital is obviously to improve the overall investment climate. Along with the ubiquitous mention of tax reductions, regulatory revisions, and an improved living environment; Korea also must reduce expenses in doing business in the country including access to affordable office space. The access to affordable office space may be as important for the short- and long-term development of the economy and the nation’s goal of becoming the

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REITS in Korea: Real Estate Investment Trust Law Amended

REITS in Korea: Real Estate Investment Trust Law AmendedLaw Update by Sean Hayes The Real Estate Investment Trust Act was amended in June of 2007 and the law will become effective in October of 2007. The law was revised in order to encourage the establishment of more REITs. The previous law was criticized for being too complicated and for giving too much discretion to the Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT). Elements of the New Korean REIT Law:1. Approval of MOCT NOT required to establish a REIT. Approval still needed before the invitation of investors. The MOCT, however, should approve

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REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT (old)

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT (Amended as of January 14, 2005)(New Law in effect on Oct, 2007)CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS Article 1 (Purpose) The purpose of this Act is to contribute to the development of national economy by prescribing the matters concerning the establishment of a real estate investment company, the management methods of assets thereof and the protection of investors therein to provide citizens at large with more opportunities to invest in the real estate as well as to vitalize the sound investment therein. Article 2 (Definitions) The definitions of terms used in this Act shall be as follows:

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Korean Foreigner’s land Aquisition Act (Enforcement Decree)

ENFORCEMENT DECREE OF THE FOREIGNER’S LAND ACQUISITION ACT INTRODUCTION Details of Enactment and Amendment – Enactment: This Decree was enacted to prescribe matters delegated by the Act on the Acquisition of Lands by Foreigners and their Management (Act No. 4726, Jan. 7, 1994) such as the detailed standards for land for actual use that may be acquired by foreigners and the procedures for such acquisition as well as those necessary for the enforcement thereof following the enactment of the said Act. The formerly executed Enforcement Decree of the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act (Cabinet Decree No. 645, Apr. 10, 1962) is

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Korean Foreigner’s land Aquisition Act

FOREIGNER’S LAND ACQUISITION ACT INTRODUCTION Details of Enactment and Amendment – Enactment: This Act was enacted on January 7, 1994 as the Act on the Acquisition of Lands by Foreigners and their Management, in order to generally improve and supplement the previous system of land acquisition by foreigners, for example, by allowing foreigners and foreign enterprises easier acquisition of land needed for their business affairs. With the enactment of this Act, the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act previously in enforcement (September 18, 1961, Act No. 718) was repealed. – Amendment: This Act has arrived at its present form as a result

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