Edited by Kuk Cho
The nationwide ‘June Struggle’ of 1987 led to the collapse of Korea’s authoritarian-military regime and opened a road toward democratization. Korea has achieved political democracy following rapid economic growth. These changes were accompanied by the change of law and legal system. Since 1987, the rule of law has rapidly replaced the rule of man and the procedural democracy has been taken seriously in Korea. Throughout the democratization process of the nation, litigation has played a crucial role as an instrument to solve most challenging civic and social conflicts with much greater and multifaceted ramifications in the nation’s political, constitutional, societal and cultural domains. The legal structure and the adjudicatory institutions surrounding litigation have been also reconstructed. For example, Korea’s Code of Civil Procedure has been revised and its focus has shifted from the written dossiers to the oral elements of the litigation including oral testimony in a concentrated, continuous and uninterrupted trial that is open to the public as a matter of principle, for further openness and transparency. The Code of Criminal Procedure has been substantially reshuffled particularly in the field of procedural rights and evidence law. A jury system was recently introduced for the first time in the nation’s legal history in serious felony cases in 2008. The Constitutional Court, which was established by the 1987 Constitution, has vigorously reviewed the constitutionality of legislation by the nation’s legislative body, the National Assembly. The Administrative Court, which was newly established in 1994, has actively checked administrative discretions for possible abuses...