Author: Song Kun Liew*
Published: January 1993
Arbitrators and Arbitral Tribunals
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
A. Arbitration Law in Korea
Commercial arbitration in Korea derives from the Arbitration Law of 1966 (the “Law”), which was revised in 1973 immediately following the Republic of Korea’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”). The Law regulates the arbitration of any private law dispute.
However, those private law disputes arising from commercial acts, as defined by Korea’s Commercial Code, are regulated instead by the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (the “KCAB Rules,” or the “Rules”) as approved by the Supreme Court in 1973 (to coincide with the revision of the Law that accommodated the New York Convention). The Rules were revised in 1981, 1983, and most recently in 1989, and were concomitantly approved by the Supreme Court. One should note, though, that the KCAB Rules govern disputes only if the parties to a commercial arbitration have not agreed upon other governing rules or manifested their intention to do so.
B. Alternative Dispute Resolution in Korea
Prior to the creation of the Law and the KCAB Rules, private law disputes of any nature were settled solely in the courts under the Civil Procedure Code. Cases arising from disputes outside the boundaries of private law, such as labor, mass media, and public nuisance disputes, fell under the jurisdiction of other national laws. In other words, all types of dispute resolution were solely carried out in and enforced by the judicial and administrative spheres.
*Graduate Faculty of Law, Chonbuk National University, Korea; member and officer of the Korean Academy of Arbitration; Arbitrator of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author.