South Korea

A. Introduction
With the rise of international transactions and a consequent increase
in lawsuits involving Korean parties, there is a pressing need for U.S.
attorneys to obtain evidence located in Korea for use in U.S. courts.
However, this process may feel unintuitive and unfamiliar due to the
fundamental differences in the discovery systems of the two countries.
Unlike the United States that employs an adversarial system of
adjudication often found in common law countries, South Korea follows a
“hybrid” of the inquisitorial and adversarial models.1 With the mixture of
inquisitorial elements in the Korean legal system, obtaining evidence in
Korea tends to be more restrictive than in the United States under its wide-
ranging discovery methods.2
Against this backdrop, Section B explores Korea’s overarching legal
framework, with a particular emphasis on the statutes and international
treaties relating to international judicial cooperation for the taking of
evidence. Section C provides a step-by-step overview of the requisite
procedures guiding the examination of evidence.
B. Legal Framework
There are statutes and treaties that pertain to the taking of evidence for
use in foreign courts. Specifically, the following laws should be
considered when the evidence sought is located in Korea:
The Act on International Judicial Mutual Assistance in Civil
Matters (AIJMA),3 and its subsidiary regulations.
(Pakyoungsa ed., 2012).
2. The practical differences in the methods and scope of discovery between
Korea and the United States will be explained in detail below.
3. Act on International Judicial Mutual Assistance in Civil Matters, Act. No.
4342, Mar. 8, 1991, as amended by Act No. 11690, Mar. 23, 2013 (S. Kor.),
translated in Korea Legislation Research Institute online database,

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