2016 Amendments to Korea’s National Arbitration Legislation - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 72, No. 1
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
South Korea has amended its arbitration law (the “Korean Arbitration Act” or “KAA”), with the amendments becoming effective as of 30 November 2016. This is the first significant revision to the law since 1999, when it was wholly revised and updated based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of 1985 (“Model Law”). The recent amendments update the KAA to incorporate many of the amendments made to the UNCITRAL Model Law in 2006 (the “2006 Model Law Amendments”), making Korea one of just a few major jurisdictions to adopt—at least in substantial part—those amendments.
This article provides a basic overview of the key amendments in the KAA. As no English translation is yet available, unofficial translations of the provisions discussed herein are presented for reference, to make them more accessible to non-Korean speakers.
The key amendments to the KAA that are touched on in this article are:
I. A more expansive definition of the term “arbitration,”
II. Relaxation of the formal requirements for a valid arbitration agreement,
III. A rephrasing of the scope of tribunal authority to issue preliminary relief—and, as perhaps the most significant of the amendments’ new provisions, providing for court enforcement of such relief,
IV. Improving the court’s role in assisting in the taking of evidence,
V. Express grant of authority to arbitral tribunals allowing them to award costs and interest, and
VI. A simplified processes for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.