Chapter 2: Why Do We Pursue ‘Oral Proceedings’ in Our Legal System?
Hyun Seok Kim I. 1. INTRODUCTION Background to Raising the Issue of ‘Oral Proceedings’ For the past year and a half, the Korean judiciary has been at the center of debate on whether to implement oral proceedings regularly into our judicial system. What caused oral proceedings to become one of the most controversial issues in the Korean judiciary? The judiciary should be accountable to the public. However, due to rapid social changes in Korea, including growth of the public’s aspirations for their rights, it is unlikely that the public would be satisfied with the services provided by the judiciary. Thus, the public will end up distrusting the judiciary.1 We looked into oral proceedings because we feared that the basis of our judicial system would collapse if the judiciary were to adhere to conventional court practices and not take measures to adjust to the desires of the public. The question then becomes, what do we expect from oral proceedings in judicial processes as one of the crucial means to reconstruct our judicial system? Would a switch to oral proceedings build up the public trust of the judiciary? This chapter examines the background to proposals to implement oral proceedings, the process of discussion, and feasible methods of using oral proceedings in the litigation process as well as ongoing prospects and tasks. 2. Oral Proceedings as a Principle in Civil Procedure As a counterpart of the principle of written proceedings, the principle of oral proceedings2 refers to a ‘speech-centered’ legal process. In a...
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