Provisional Attachments of Assets in Pending Litigation in Korea Courts

A party attempting to collect on a debt or potential liability based on breach of contract or torts in Korea may obtain a Provisional Attachment of an Asset. Another useful tool to expedite proceeding in a Korean civil matter is to Obtain a Payment Order from a Korean Court.  A provisional attachment is considered provisional, since the attachment is executed prior to the final judgement. The, facial, purpose of a provisional attachment is to secure assets necessary for enforcement in cases where a defendant may conceal or dispose of assets. However, a provisional attachment, often, encourages settlement. We advise most creditors attempting to enforce a debt or potential debt against a debtor is to obtain a provisional attachment if the debtor is a company or individual without significant tangible assets.  Companies with significant assets are likely to pay debts after a judgement and, normally, are not significantly harmed by the attachment.   Courts

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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 may arise under the agreement. Ideally, the parties to the agreement should expressly agree as to choice of jurisdiction and governing law. A governing law clause will set out the parties’ choice of the law that will apply to the parties’ agreement, and a jurisdiction clause will set out the parties’ choice as to jurisdiction. These aforementioned clauses are – in general – considered by any courts (for the exemptions

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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 industries involved in arbitration; and provide a quick overview of the mainstay arbitration institution in Korea: the KCAB. 1973 – 2020: Arbitration in Korea Over the Years The Korea Arbitration Act was enacted into law in 1966. The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, aka the “New York Arbitration Convention” or “New York Convention,” is the Magna Carta of international arbitration. The New Arbitration Convention was

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Amendment to the Korean Immigration Act Supports Foreign Children in Cases of Child Abuse

In early April 2019 the Chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee proposed an Amendment to the Immigration Act of Korea , with the facial purpose of implement more supportive regulations to assist foreign children that are victims of child abuse. Please note, unlike in the United States and some other Western countries, being born in Korea does not, automatically, grant you the right to Korean citizenship. The Amendment shall be effective upon promulgation. For an article on deportation from Korean please see: Korean Immigration Deportation, Departure/Exit Orders. For an article on challenging a decision of Immigration please see: Challenging a Korean Immigration Order at the Administrative Court of Korea. Major Provisions of the Amendment to the Korean Immigration Act To lessen the burden caused by a complex and lengthy Korean Immigration process, the Legislation & Judicial Committee decided to propose this Amendment to Korea’s Immigration Act. The salient parts

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IPG’s Sean Hayes Received the Highest Lawyer Rating from AVVO for his Work on International Legal Issues

IPG is proud to announce that Sean Hayes received the highest rating from AVVO. Avvo is an American attorney rating site and information portal. AVVO is one of the largest and most respected attorney rating sites in the United States. Sean, frequently, receives top ratings from legal rating services for his international law work. His law firm was, recently, rated South Korea’s Top Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year. Sean Hayes is a member of the NY Bar. Sean Hayes The articles in this blog are brought to you by Sean Hayes, retired judges, senior Korean attorneys and other attorneys/professionals at IPG and from associated law firms and consulting companies. IPG Legal is often chosen by clients when non-conflicted and aggressive representation is essential for success. Sean is the first non-Korean to work for the Korean Court System and one the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean was, recently,

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Mandatory Registration of Long-term Trips Abroad – Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act of 2019

The Amendment to the Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act (hereinafter as “Amendment to the Registration of Korean Nationals Abroad Act”) shall enter into force at the end of 2019. The Amendments major focus is on collecting more information about Korean nationals staying or residing abroad. For a related update related to Korean Passports, please see: Korean Passports. Key-facts about the Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act The Korean Registration of Korean Nationals Residing Abroad Act facial purpose is to “…understand the current status of the nationals of the Republic of Korea residing or staying abroad by having them registered, in order to promote conveniences of their activities at home and abroad, execute relating administrative affairs properly, thereby contributing to the formulation of protective policies for them.”. In accordance with the Act, Korean nationals shall register their stay in foreign countries as soon as the duration exceeds

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Korea Enhances its Scope of Eligible Persons under the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation: Korean Aide to Developing Countries

The Amendment to the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation (hereinafter as “Act”) was proposed by the Korean Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee at the end of last year. The law intent is to improve the human rights of juveniles in developing countries by the establishment of a variety of international development cooperation programs for at risk and impoverished children. Main Objectives of the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation The major purpose of the Act is to enhance “…the appropriateness of policies for international development cooperation and the effectiveness of implementation thereof, and effectively achieve the policy objectives of international development cooperation by providing for basic matters concerning international development cooperation, thus contributing to the co-prosperity of humanity and to world peace.” (Art 1). The cooperation partners included are either based on bilateral (f.i. cooperation partners of the State, local governments or public institutions) or multilateral (international

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Korea Amends the Act on the Employment, etc. of Foreign Workers in 2019: Employment Law Updates

Amendment to the Act of the Employment, etc. of Foreign Workers in Korea (hereinafter as “Amendment to the Act of the Employment of Foreign Workers” of Korea) was proposed by the Korean Environment and Labor Committee in December 2018. The focus of the Amendment of the Employment of Foreign Workers is on the improvement of the living conditions of foreign workers at dormitories provided by their companies. Major Changes Due to the Amendment and the Struggles on the Way Addition of Criteria for the Dormitories to the Requirements to Obtain Permission for Hiring Foreign Workers in Korea? The original bill contained the regulation in Art 8 (3) Act of the Employment of Foreign Workers that the criteria for dormitories shall be added to the requirements that employers in Korea must meet in order to receive permission to hire foreign workers, if they – in general – provide dormitories to foreign

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Korea’s Amendment to the Act on the Arrival, Departure, etc. of Ships: Korean Shipping Law

Dangerous substances, illegal substances and other controlled substances are believed, in Korea, to be more often transported by ships into Korean waters. Thus, the Korean government has amended a giving act concerning Korean Shipping Law. To, among other things, increase transparency of what is being shipped, the Korean Act on the Arrival, Departure, etc. of Ships (hereinafter as “Act on Ships” or “Korean Shipping Act”) was amended. The Korean Act on Ships, in general, establishes regulations concerning the arrival and departure of ships, as well as sets up safety measures in Korea. The Amendment was propoed in December of 2018. The Amendment was proposed by the Chair of the Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans and Fisheries Committee. Korean Shipping Act stipulates that shipping companies, which share the same shipping route and transport dangerous products, shall share accurate information. The Amended Korean Shipping Act shall become effective from July 2019. Overview

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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 the passport-holder; Gender of the passport-holder; Date of birth of the passport-holder; Resident registration number of the passport-holder; and Photo of the passport-holder; Due, facially, to protect personal information, the Korean Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee declared the low importance of the inclusion of a Korean Resident Registration Number in Korean passports. Therefore, the Amendment excludes the number from Korean passports. Highlights of the Amendment to the Korean Passport Act

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Korea Focuses on Greater Control over Imported Food – Amendment to the Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control 2019

The Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control was recently amended and shall strengthen the on-site inspections of foreign establishments, which already export food to Korea, as well as those, which apply for registration of the importation of overseas food. The Amendment was proposed in early April 2019 and shall become effective upon promulgation. We expect substantially heightened risk for importers and an increase in the price of many imported goods. Major Provisions of the Korean Amendment to the Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control Food from facilities overseas, which is produced, manufactured, processed, treated, packaged and/or stored, before being imported to Korea, shall be subject to inspections initiated by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. In addition, overseas facilities, which intend to import livestock which are slaughtered, manufactured, processed, stored and/or milk is collected, shall also be required to be inspected upon request of the Ministry of

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The Amendment to the Korean Pharmaceutical Affairs Act 2019

The Korean Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (hereinafter as “Pharma-Act”) was proposed by the Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee of Korea on December 27, 2018. The Pharma Act shall adds more cumbersome regulations on the foreign qualifications of pharmacists, increases the limits of penalty surcharges and shall change the system to transfer a Korean pharmacy businesses. This Amendment shall become effective in July 2019. The major amendments are detailed below. Key Highlights of the Korean Amendment to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act Criteria for the Qualification for the Korean Pharmacist Exam regarding Pharmacists Who Graduated from Foreign Colleges The current Art 3 Pharma-Act, as part of Section 1 – Qualifications and Licenses of Pharmacists states that a person, which wants to become a pharmacist “…shall obtain a license from the Minister of Health and Welfare.” A license shall be granted if an individual has a bachelor’s degree from a national institution

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Korea Fully Legalizes the Usage of LPG as a Fuel for Vehicular Transportation

The Amendment to the Korean Safety Control and Business of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act (“Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act” or “Act”) was proposed by the Korean Chair of the Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs and Startups Committee on March 13, 2019 and shall become effective upon promulgation. The aforementioned Amendment enables the use of liquefied petroleum gas (“LPG”) as a fuel for vehicular transportation in the Republic of Korea via elimination of the restrictions on the use of LPG in vehicles. The existing Safety Control and Business of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act The existing Act’s purpose, as noted in the Act, is to “…ensure public safety by prescribing matters concerning the export and import, filling, storage, sale, and use of liquefied petroleum gas, and the safety control of gas appliances and to ensure proper supply and use of liquefied petroleum gas by rationally regulating liquefied petroleum gas business.” The Act was promulgated

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“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 Due to rising problems fine dust causes in Korea, the Korean Government has implemented numerous regulations and safety measures to allegedly reduce the damaging influence of fine dust to the Korean society. Not long ago the Korean Special Act on Fine Dust Abatement and Management was amended, which legally defined the different types of dust and enabled officials to set certain fine dust reduction measures, such as suspension of certain

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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 Korean government. Increasing the Scope of the Protected Zones in a Military Base or Installation in the Republic of Korea The purpose of the aforementioned Act is to “…to contribute to the national security by providing for matters necessary for the protection of military bases and installations and smooth conduct of military operations.“ To the term “military installations” under the amendment adds in Art. 2: Protection of Military Bases and

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Tax Breaks for Korean Landlords: Real Estate Taxation Basics

Proposed by the Chairman of the Strategy and Finance Committee of the Republic of Korea on September 20, 2018, the Amendment to the Korean Restriction of Special Taxation Act came into force on January 1, 2019. The amendment has decreased the taxation burden of some landlords. The Act was amended in favor of Korean landlords who renew long-term rentals with tenants by charging a lower increase of rent by a percentage lower than a percentage set by Presidential Decree. This Act shall reduce, in general, the tax burden of these Korean landlords. Art 96-2 Restriction of Special Taxation Act of the Republic of Korea states that “…when a national of the Republic of Korea who runs a housing rental business has earned a sum from that business a total income not exceeding 75 million won in a single taxable year, and has rented a commercial building to the same tenant

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Korea Government Filed a Complaint with WTO Over Japan’s Export Restrictions on Korea

The South Korean government filed a complaint over Japan’s, recently imposed, export restrictions with the World Trade Organization, blaming Tokyo for taking a biased measure against Korea for political reasons. During a press conference in Seoul, the nation’s Trade Minister Myung-hee YOO said that the Japanese government’s export controls, focusing on Korea, was a direct violation of WTO regulations.  Trade Minister YOO noted the Japanese government’s decision to restrict exports to Korea was, among other things,  politically motivated and is harming both Korean and Japanese businesses and relations between the countries. WTO guidelines prohibits member from taking unfair and biased measures against another member of the WTO.  In this manner, Korea’s Trade Minister argued vehemently that Japan’s export restrictions on three key materials for key Korean manufacturers to Korea (essential for making cell phone chips and displays), comes after Korea’s Supreme Court ruled at the end of 2018 that, in

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New Provisions regarding the Korean Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information

The Amendment to the Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information of Korea (hereinafter as “Amended Financial Transaction Information Act of Korea”) focuses on strengthening Korean legal provisions related to money laundering as well as implementing a “global standard” proposed by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. The Amended Financial Transaction Information Act of Korea shall enter into force on July 1, 2019. Major provisions of the Korean Act on Financial Transaction Information The purpose of the Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information is to “…provide for matters concerning reporting on and use of specified financial transaction information necessary to regulate money laundering and financing of terrorism through financial transactions, such as foreign exchange transactions, thereby contributing to preventing crimes and further establishing a sound and transparent financial system.” (Art 1). The major provisions of the prior Act are: Transactions of expected illegal

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Korean Patent Law’s Trade Secret Protection: Amendment to Trade Secret Law in Korea

The amended Patent Act of Korea (“Korean Patent Act”) and the amended Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act (“Korean Trade Secret Protection Act”) of Korea shall enter into force on July 9, 2019. The most important key developments are great criminal penalties for trade secret misappropriations; damage awards up to three times of the actual damage regarding infringements of patent rights or trade secret rights; eased litigation requirements for the claimants; and revised basis for calculating royalty damages. These amendments are expected to lead to a heightened protection for intellectual property rights in Korea. The 2019 Major Key Changes in the Korean Patent Act and the Korean Trade Secret Protection Act: Increased Criminal Penalties under the Korean Trade Secret Protection Act Under the current regulations, a criminal penalty for a trade secret misappropriation is narrowly defined and considered by many legal practitioners and academics as not protective enough

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Succeeding in Business in Korea

Since 1977, I have observed the rise and fall of many foreign companies in South Korea. I have witnessed the trials and tribulations as a bank employee, a high-tech salesman, a country manager and as a business consultant of foreign and Korean companies doing business in Korea . Bluntly speaking, while some foreign ventures have had some unlucky breaks, those companies that have succeeded in the Korean market have done so for good reasons.  And those who have failed have done so, largely, because of their own inadequacies and often the lack of understanding of the needs of businesses in the Korean market. Those companies who for a period “succeed” do so by largely having some kind of a monopoly in technology, a lock on a particular resource, or an overwhelming marketing advantage that makes Korean copycats look decidedly second class.  But many initially successful companies ultimately fail by not getting adequately

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