Law and Compliance in South Korea

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Business Contract

General Observation
You must state precisely the obligations of the vendor and the methods of quality control.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You must be particularly vigilant about the law applicable to the contract and the methods of conflict resolution. Indeed, Korea is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on International Contracts.
The Korean legal system is not easy for a foreigner to understand so you are advised to choose international law or a system of settlement by arbitration.
Advisable Incoterms
FOB and CIF are widely used in Korea, even if Incoterms 2000 recommends FCA in case of container, air or complicated delivery.
Language of Domestic Contract
Korean, English
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If the Korean law is not used, you could select the international laws especially in English or the law of your contactors (in English).

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Yes. With the rapid increase of the crime committed by the foreigners, the Korean courts are trying to staff up more necessary interpreters.
Legal Similarities
The system is modeled on European systems with Anglo-American influences like Japan.

The Different Legal Codes

Securities related Laws Securities and Exchange Act
Futures Trading Act
Collective Investment Scheme Act
Commercial Code
Foreign Exchange Transaction Act
Commerce Laws Commercial Act
Unfair Competition Prevention Act and Trade Secret Protection Act
Consumer Laws Act on the Protection of Personal Information Maintained by Public Agencie
Consumer Protection Act On Eletronic Transaction
Door-To-Door Sales, Etc. Act
Electric Appliances Safety Control Act
Food Sanitation Act
Regulations On Consumer Disputes Resolution
Product Liability Act, etc.
Tax Laws Corporation Tax Act
Special Taxation for Foreign Investment in Restriction of Preferential Taxation Act
Financial Laws Banking Act
Labor Laws Labor Standards Act
Customs Laws Customs Act
Checking National Laws Online
Total Korean law service of Supreme Court
Total Korean law service
Ministry of Government Legislation (MOLEG)
Korea Legislation research Institute (KLRI)
Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE)
Other Useful Resources
MOJ, Ministry of Justice
MOLEG, Ministry of Government Legislation
National Assembly, Recently Enacted Laws.
Country Guides
Buyusainfo Country guide

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The Jurisdictions

The Constitutional Court Decides on the Constitutionality of Laws, ruling on Competence Disputes between governmental entities, adjudicating Constitutional Complaints filed by individuals, etc.
Supreme Court Hears appeals from judgments or rulings rendered by the High Courts, the Patent Court, and the appellate panels of the District Courts or the Family Court.
High Courts Hear appeals from judgments or rulings rendered either by a panel of three judges of the district courts or the family court, or by the administrative court. The jurisdiction of high courts is exercised by a panel of three judges.
District Courts & Branch Courts There are 18 district courts throughout the nation. In each district court, there is an administration bureau to handle administrative affairs. The district courts or branch courts retain original jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases.
Family Court Exclusively deals with domestic relations and juvenile offense cases, the Family Court was established on October 1, 1963, on an equivalent level to the district courts.
Administrative Court The only Administrative Court is located in Seoul.
Patent Court Operates in a two-tier system. When a party is dissatisfied with the decision of the Intellectual Property Tribunal, a lawsuit may be filed with the patent court and later to the Supreme Court.

Court Officials

Public prosecutors
Representatives of the public interest, who investigate crimes, indict suspects as well as direct and supervise the police in the investigation of crimes.
Participate in judicial proceedings as representatives of parties in civil or administrative cases or as defense counsels in criminal cases.
Notary publics
They draw up notaries deeds on juristic acts and attest to the authenticity of any instruments or writings signed by private persons.
Judicial scriveners
They perform such duties as preparation of documents to be submitted to a court or public prosecutor's office, preparation of documents necessary for registration and proxy of application for registration or deposit.
Independent, extra-judicial officers affiliated with the district courts. They are engaged in the execution of judgments and the service of documents.
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  • South Korea: Standards

    The Korean Government adopted the ISO 9000 system (modified as the KSA 9000) as the official standard system in April 1992. The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) continues to work to make Korean standards consistent with international standards.

    U.S. Commercial Service South Korea on 6 Jan 2010 related to Law and Compliance in South Korea

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