Court-Connected Mediation in Korea - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 54, No. 2
The author is an associate judge in Seoul High Court in Korea. He has also worked as a mediation judge and has lectured on ADR at the Judicial Research and Training Institute (JRTI). This is an abridged version of an article that appeared in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law in 1997.
Mediation of civil cases in Korea is not mediation in the strictest sense as we understand it in the United States. One of the principal differences, the author says, is that when parties are unable to reach an agreement, the mediator can step in and render a decision. This article outlines the mediation process in Korea, and highlights how it differs from its Western counterpart.
The modern independent judicial system in Korea which started in 1894 was disrupted by Japanese colonial rule from 1910 until 1945. During that period Korea was forced to adopt the Japanese legal system which had been received from the modern European countries that used civil law. That adoption resulted in modern Korea’s eventual assimilation of the European civil law system.1
Korea is not a federal state and the ordinary Korean courts are organized in a unitary system of three levels: District Courts (including the specialized Family Court), which are the courts of original jurisdiction; the High Courts, which are the intermediate appellate courts; and the Supreme Court, which is the highest court.2