The Supreme Court of Korea
(Korean: 대한민국 대법원
) is the highest judicial court and the court of last resort in South Korea. However, the Constitutional Court of Korea
is the court of last resort for special constitutional issues relating to impeachment of presidents and dissolution of political parties.
Logo of the Supreme Court of Korea featuring the Goddess of Justice designed in a modern style.
The judicial branch of South Korea was officially founded in 1948. During which the same year, the Constitution of the Republic of Korea was written and effectuated and the Government of South Korea was established. The judiciary started to exercise its judicial power with the inauguration of the Chief Justice. The first Chief Justice and 5 Justices were appointed in 1948. The Supreme Court of Korea started its journey with the promulgation of the Court Organization Act on September 26, 1949.
The judiciary of South Korea has gained its current status through many changes and developments, with no change in the three-tier system.
The three-tier court system in South Korea is composed of district courts as the courts of original jurisdiction, high courts as the intermediate appellate courts and the Supreme Court as the court of last resort. Patent Court is positioned at the same level as the high courts while the family courts and the Administrative Court are positioned at the same level as district courts.
The South Korean judicial system has grown since the very first promulgation and implementation of the Criminal Act in 1953, followed by the establishment of the Criminal Procedure Act in 1954 and the implementation of the Civil Act, Registration of Real Estate, The Family Register Act, and the Civil Procedure Act in 1960.
The first official robe for judges was designed in 1953 and it has been changed several times till reaching its current design which was introduced in March 1998.
The first Supreme Court was housed in a building which was built in 1928 and located at 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul. The judicial evolved substantially in 1995 when the Supreme Court was moved to its current location at 217 Seocho-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul. The new building which was completed in October 21, 1995 comprises of four sections namely, the Main Center, East Wing, West Wing and Courtrooms. The Supreme Court is located at the Main Center.
The Electronic Case Filing System (ECFS) of the Supreme Court was launched in April 2010. The electronic filing service is available for all cases except criminal cases.
Trials in court are conducted in Korean and interpretation can be arranged when the parties do not understand Korean.
The Supreme Court is comprised of the Chief Justice and 13 Justices, serving as the final and highest tribunal regarding civil, criminal, family, administrative and military cases.
The court's opinions are acknowledged to be the most authoritative precedents providing standards for the interpretation of laws, while contributing to the development of legal theories and practices.
In civil case, the party who is dissatisfied with the judgment of the court of appeals may appeal to the Supreme Court within two weeks from the date the judgment is served.
In criminal case, an appeal against the judgment of the court of appeals must be filed with the Supreme Court within seven days from the date the judgment is rendered.
Screenshot of the Supreme Court of Korea
The official website of the Supreme Court of Korea (English version) features:
- Introduction to the Judiciary
- Organization and Composition
- e-Court System
- History and Reform
- Chief Justice
- Supreme Court Building
- Judicial Exchanges
- International Tribunals
Additionally, the Korean version of the Supreme Court website features:
- A separate section for children.
- Comprehensive Legal Information System (CLIS): Searchable precedents of the Supreme Court and lower courts, legislation of South Korea, Supreme Court rules, internal rules and regulations.
- Public reading of written judgment with personal information removed for privacy of interested parties.