How Courts Generally Work in South Korea: Appeals Especially



Appeals exist because judges are not infallible. In Korea, a case may be heard (normally) a max of 3 times: Trial Court (제1심) –> Appellate Court (항소심) –> Supreme Court (상고심).

Of course, only a losing party may appeal. This includes losing partially. So, only if you got what you wanted 100%, you can’t appeal. This is the same for civil and criminal cases. For example, if the prosecutor asked for 10 years but the defendant was sent to (only) 7, the prosecution may appeal (as well as the defendant). This, of course, means not guilty decisions can be appealed as well. So it’s possible to see sometimes: Not Guilty! (Trial Court) –> Guilty! (Appellate Court) –> Not Guilty! (Supreme Court). (FYI, there is no plea bargaining in Korea. The prosecution is still seen as too powerful an opponent to engage in any bargaining with…)

What about civil…

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