This paper sets forth the evolution of the judicial process in modern Korea. It discusses in particular the role of the courts under the authoritarian Yusin Constitution (1972-1980). Jurisprudence during this period pointed to the classic judicial dilemma of unjust law, a common issue in a civil law system with a sovereign legislature. The relative importance of legal stability and substantive justice is an enduring question in legal philosophy and history. The Korean case presents a genuine debate about the rule of law and judicial independence.
Marie Seong-Hak Kim is professor of history at St. Cloud State University, Between September 2013 and June 2014 she is a fellow at NIAS.
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