Research on Korean Law
Since 2005, the Institute has been broadening its expertise in Asian law with a view in particular to Korean civil law.
In the first half of the 20th century, a continental-European legal system – of German influence – was introduced in Korea under the colonial rule of Japan. As a result, many Koreans felt robbed of their legal tradition. Following its establishment in 1948, the Republic of Korean had to postpone planned legal reforms, in part due to the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950, with the consequence that the development of the country was impeded. After the end of the war, legal reform was taken up once again. In 1958 the Korean Civil Code was enacted. Subsequently, in 1962 a commercial code was adopted, which also contained comprehensive rules on company law.
With its incorporation of Korean civil law, the Institute’s regional unit aims to avoid adopting a Eurocentric perspective on Asian legal systems. This objective should be furthered by considering Korean law in the context of Confucian philosophy – which is deeply rooted in Korea – and by bearing in mind associated Chinese legal culture.
The initial step in the study of Korean law is to build up a basic core of Korean law literature in the Institute library. Regular trips to South Korean are being undertaken so that the Institute can acquire relevant reference works, commentaries and case digests. In addition to efforts in the field of Korean private international law and work on an introductory textbook on Korean law, family law is also a focal point.