Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Issues in Agency Agreements

In drafting and negotiating a Korean commercial agency agreement between a principal located in one country and an agent located in another country, proper consideration needs to be given to the choice of law regarding the governing law and jurisdiction of such an agreement. Jurisdiction determines which country’s courts will hear any proceedings that may be brought in relation to the agreement, whilst governing law is the law that shall be applied by the courts hearing any such proceedings that

Continue reading

Termination of Commercial Agent/Distribution Agreements in Korea: Korea’s Agent Compensation Rule

In many cases of termination of a distribution/agent agreement in Korea compensation must be paid to the commission agent.  In many cases, the same rules are applied to distributors.  The law on the termination of Commission Agent-type agreement is governed, mainly, by the Commercial Act of Korea and its enforcement decrees.  Korea law does not facially differentiate between termination and expiration of agent/distribution agreements. The following explanation is, only, a brief overview of Korea’s Distribution/ Agency Law relating to termination of

Continue reading

Korea’s Criminal Procedure Act: Pre-Trial Detention in Korea

The Korean Criminal Justice System works, in many aspects, very differently from the American Criminal Justice System. One aspect of the system that leaves many of our clients puzzled is the pre-trial detention system in Korea.  Korea’s Criminal Procedure Act Article 92 details the maximum detention periods while the Korean prosecutor’s investigation is pending.  The following does not apply, in many respects, to those under the SOFA: After being arrested, a defendant may be held for up to 48 hours

Continue reading

Enforcing Punitive & Liquidated Damages Awards against Korean Companies via Contracts with Foreign Subsidiaries of Korean Companies

A recent amendment of the Korean Civil Procedure Act added Article 217-2.  The Amendment has codified a holding by the Seoul Central District Court and other Korean courts noting, in part, that Korean Courts may refuse to “recognize foreign damage awards that clearly exceed amounts considered reasonable in Korea in violation of good morals and the social order of Korea” (99 KaHap 14496, S. Cent. Distr. Court, 10/20/2000). The Amendment allows Korean Courts, in Korea, the power to not recognize

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Liquidated (Penalty) Damages Necessary in Most Korean NDA and Non-Compete Agreements

For any company engaged in negotiations, agreements, pre-M & A due diligence, OEM outsourcing or other activities with a Korean business or individuals that may lead to you disclosing your companies intellectual property, know-how or other proprietary information, always include in your no-competition, non-use, non-circumvention and non-compete agreements a liquidated damages (Penalty Damages) clause.  Without a Penalty Damages Clause – good luck in proving damages when a breach occurs. If the other party refuses to sign the clause, this is good

Continue reading

Entering into a Joint Venture/Partnership in South Korea?

One of the major parts of my law practice for international clients, in Korea, is the structuring of joint ventures and the resolution of joint venture disputes in court and through arbitration.  I find, in most of these cases, the non-Korean party is not in need of a joint venture with a a Korean party to succeed in Korea and the Korean party does not realize or has no intent in satisfying obligations under the joint venture agreements.  The parties

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Does Korea have Common Law Marriage?: Korean Common Law Marriage (De Facto Marriage) Basics

While the concept of a Korean Common Law Marriage (since Korea has no concept of a Common Law) does not exist, Korea has a similar law than the laws, in the States, often referred to as Common Law marriage.  FYI – few U.S. States recognize common law marriage. In Korea, the concept of Common Law Marriage is referred to as De Facto Marriage.  In Korea, all “legal marriages” are marriages that are registered at the local town office or recognized

Continue reading

Korean Criminal Law: Double Jeopardy in Courts in Korea

The double jeopardy protection afforded by the Korean Constitution in Article 13 is applied in a different manner than in, most, common law nations.  The application, in Korea, allows the prosecution to have three chances to obtain a guilty verdict. For example, in the United States, a defendant may not be tried for the same or similar offense, within a specific jurisdiction, when a “conclusion” is made in any court. Thus, if a jury or judge finds a defendant not

Continue reading

Deportation after Criminal Conviction in Korea: Korea Immigration Law Basics

Korea’s Immigration Services has increased enforcement/deportation actions against foreigners convicted of crimes.  Upon exit from Korea, the Immigration Service has been instructing individuals to report to Immigration with the written judgment and confirmation that the fine (if any) was paid in full.  These records may be obtained from the Prosecutor’s Office. We advise reporting to Immigration, only, after an attorney reviews the matter and, potentially, writes a legal opinion to the Immigration Services of Korea.  If you live in the

Continue reading

Preparation for Korean Police & Prosecutor Interrogations & Witness/Defendant Questioning at Korean Courts

All good Korean attorneys prepare all clients for witness questioning & suspect interrogations in Korea.  Clients may be subpoenaed to appear in a Korean police office, Korean prosecutors office or to appear as a witness or a criminal defendant in a Korean Court and should be thoroughly prepared by their attorneys. We at IPG, hear of too many issues of lawyers, only, telling clients to “tell the truth and don’t worry.”  This is, obviously, not adequate witness or suspect preparation.  We see

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Motor Vehicle Accidents/Negligence Cases in Korea

Regrettably, many Korean insurance companies, in Korea, are less than generous in offering settlements to unrepresented parties in injuries sustained by car, trucks, taxis and trucks.  The various Taxi Associations’ insurance coverages are, particularly, notorious. The Korean insurance companies utilize an internal calculation method that leads to a settlement compensation amount that, often, is laughable at best.  The claims adjusters, at Korean insurance companies, are great at getting victims of motor vehicle accidents and other accidents, in Korea, to settle

Continue reading

Korean Arbitration: An Introduction

Korean Arbitration has come a long way since the ratification of the New York Convention in 1973. The Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) went from a small organization handling a handful of cases to, now, and organization handling hundred of arbitration cases each year. The number of international arbitrations is, also, on the rise. This article shall give readers the backstory of how Korean arbitration as a dispute mechanism tool has developed over the years in Korea; review the key

Continue reading

Challenging an Arbitrator at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board

In our last post we discussed, at length, the benefits of arbitration in Korea over litigation in a Korean court. We shall be updating the reader of numerous issues related to arbitration over the next couple of weeks. The following posts concerns challenging of an arbitrator at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board. Thus, what happens in a situation when you, as a party in a Korean arbitration, feel that the arbitrator is acting in a manner inconsistent with his or

Continue reading

The Case for Arbitration over Litigation in Korea

Many of you are prospectively weighing the options of executing contracts with and without arbitration clauses in Korean contracts (aka setting yourself up for prospective litigation battles in Korean courts or resolving a dispute in Korea with the help of an arbitration panel). Thus, this article is intended to consider the option of arbitration over litigation in Korea. In most cases, IPG recommends arbitration over litigation for expat companies doing business in Korea and/or with Korean companies. While of course

Continue reading

Can a Foreign Company be Deemed a Domestic Company for Tax Purposes and Taxed on Worldwide Income?

If Korea deems a foreign incorporated company a Domestic Corporation, the company shall be taxed on its worldwide income.  The relevant law, this determination is made under, is the Corporate Tax Act of Korea (“CTA”).  In the typical case, the National Tax Service of Korea designates the foreign-incorporated company a Domestic Corporation and requests details on overseas earnings in order to impose taxes on overseas earnings.  Of course this leads, invariable, to your Korean tax lawyer challenging the determination to

Continue reading

Korean Tax Incentives for 2020: Korean Tax Law Updates

Because of increased tax liabilities of many companies in Korea and because of perceived deteriorating market conditions, the Korean government implemented programs that may assist some SMEs, and larger companies doing business in Korea. Numerous conditions apply for each of these incentive/abatement tax programs below. The following is, only, intended as a basic explanation of the programs that may be available to businesses operating in Korea. Tax Support for Investments in Korea Investments in facilities that “improve productivity” shall receive

Continue reading

Korea’s Virtual Assets/Cryptocurrency Law

For those who may not know, cryptocurrencies/virtual assets (the best known of them, at the moment, is Bitcoin), are digital representations of value that can be digitally traded or transferred. When holders are using these currencies the transaction, in short, the use is via Blockchains (in short, a decentralized databases). South Korea has been at the forefront of the global cryptocurrency boom and its spread has permeated through all levels of society. Statistics from 2017 show that more than one third

Continue reading