Chapter 1: Litigating in Korea: A General Overview of Korean Civil Procedure
Youngjoon Kwon I. INTRODUCTION In the aftermath of the Korean War that literally devastated the whole nation a half century ago, the Republic of Korea miraculously grew up from one of the poorest nations into the 13th economy in GDP as of 2007. Along with an established industrial economy, Korea has also changed dramatically during the last few decades in the political environment, broadening and deepening its democracy. These political and economic infrastructures laid a solid cornerstone for the rule of law. Drawing on the experiences of other nations and creatively adapting these lessons in its own context, the Korean legal system has also been developing into a firm and sound one. Consequently, the Korean judiciary is gradually increasing its scope of influence in response to the enhanced demand of the people calling for a more reasonable and fair society. With regard to dispute resolution, the rule of law seems to play an even more significant role. In the past, based on the Confucian heritage,1 a great number of disputes were settled by de facto, informal mediators like elder members of the community or family without making their way to the court.2 Yet, with western cultures and thoughts gradually gaining ground in Korean society and a modern legal system standing firm as a central mechanism of dispute resolution, more and more disputes are resolved by law, instead of informal reconciliation. Individuals are showing more willingness to bring their civil disputes to the court. This, in turn results in a...
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