The Republic of Korea (South Korea) wishes to cooperate with the countries of the European Union, developing contacts in the field of law, as well. Invitation to mutual cooperation between the Supreme Courts of the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Korea was expressed by Bae Hyong-Won), a judge of the Supreme Court of Korea, who at the present moment holds the position of attaché of the Republic of Korea in Vienna, and who took a one day working visit to the Supreme Court of Latvia on November 29.

The discussions on cooperation were commenced when the non-residing Ambassador of Latvia in the Republic of Korea Pēteris Vaivars met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea Lee Young-Hoon this April. The working visit of the attaché Bae Hyong-Won in the Supreme Court of Latvia and discussions with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Guļāns and Manager of Administration Anita Kehre already outlined the possible directions of cooperation: exchange of information and experience of the personnel.

Bae Hyong-Won listened with interest to the information regarding activities of the Supreme Court and its position in the Latvian judiciary. He was interested in the procedure of selection of judges and possibilities of carrier development in Latvia, as well as issues on court administration.

The Latvian part, in its turn, heard the information on the judiciary of South Korea and the role of the Supreme Court. In South Korea, a country with 47,676,000 inhabitants, there are only twelve judges of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court reviews about 20,000 cases per year. Judges work in four chambers or compositions. All the judges hear cases of all types, the distribution of cases is electronic. There also 60 research judges in the Supreme Court who assist in preparation of cases.

The amount of work is immense, and like in the Supreme Court of Latvia, they have a great number of pending cases. There have been attempts to change the process of the litigation by applying a certain “filter” which, for example, exists in Scandinavia so that the Supreme Court does not have to review all the cases. However, as Bae Hyong-Won told, it did not work as politicians and society considered that there has to be a possibility to appeal all court adjudications in the Supreme Court.

In South Korea, judges of the Supreme Court are appointed in the position by the State President upon a proposal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and with the consent of the Parliament. The term of office of a judge is six years. The judges of courts of lower instances are appointed in the position by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, their term of office is also six years. There is a big competition regarding the position of judge, the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is especially prestigious.

South Korea has interesting experience in court administration. It is done by the National Court Administration which is directly subordinate to the Supreme Court. Administration deals with court finances, issues regarding selection of judges, and it employs not only officials but also thirty judges who are temporarily relieved of their duties of judges.

Bae Hyong-Won visited also the museum of the Supreme Court and learned about the history of the Court Palace and the premises, his interest was attracted by the Latvian sculpture of Justice by Kārlis Zemdega in the former hall of the Court Palace.


Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Manager of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211