Rising from the devastation of Japanese colonization and the Korean War, South Korea has come to play a pivotal role in East Asian economic development and stability. As a world-class economy, it is now a major force in the processes of globalization, cross-border legal harmonization, international economic and political cooperation, and global governance. This course examines the law and legal institutions of South Korea from the perspective of its role in the global economy. We will begin with an historical overview of the Confucian roots of Korean legal traditions, initial encounters with Western legal systems, the impact of Japanese colonization, and the emergence of democratic rule. This sets the foundation for examining the ways in which contemporary global influences continue to compete with long-standing notions of law and society in Korea. Topics include cultural norms associated with law and legality; history and development of democratic rule, including the Constitutional Court and its jurisprudence; legal education reforms and the opening of the Korean legal market to foreign law firms; corporate law and governance, including various nuances of Korean corporate law, chaebol reform, the "economic democracy" debate, and small business promotion; Korea's engagement with the Int'l legal system, historically and as seen through its relations with its immediate neighbors; international and domestic human rights standards in Korea; and finally, international/regional legal cooperation and Korean leadership.
Throughout the course, we will examine how the issues discussed relate to regional and global trends. Specifically, to what extent has Korea resisted, successfully navigated, and even contributed to the formation of those trends? How do these responses affect legal and political change both at home and in Korea's relations with its neighbors and the world community? To what degree has Korea been an active contributor on certain regional and global issues, while remaining passive on others? How do Korean solutions to legal reform issues compare to solutions elsewhere in East Asia and the world? Finally, we will attempt to bring these themes together in the final part of the course and ask what is the significance of Korea's emerging role in global and transnational legal cooperation and governance. Guest lecturers will join on certain topics; to be decided.
Topics to be covered:
1. Law, Globalization and the Korean Legal System
2. Early Korean legal history to the present: Confucian legal traditions; Japanese Colonization; Democratization and Rule of Law
3. Legal System and Profession
4. Constitutional Rights and Freedoms
5. Criminal law & Procedure
6. Business Law & Corporate Governance (I, II, and III)
7. Civil Litigation; Social laws
8. Korea and the International Legal System: History; Inter-Korean relations; Japan-Korea Relations
9. Korea and the Int'l Human Rights System
10. Korea and Int'l Trade Law: WTO; FTAs
11. Regional Cooperation and Korean Leadership