The Republic of Korea is one of the most dynamic and technologically driven countries in the world and a renowned center for international business. With a rich history of international arbitration, Korea has world-leading legal experts, arbitrators, and practitioners. With modern infrastructure and in an optimal geographical location to serve as a neutral forum, Seoul is a natural seat for international arbitration.
- Arbitration-friendly environment ranked first place for “Enforcing Contracts” in the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business Report
- Governmental support for the arbitration industry, evidenced by the Arbitration Promotion Act, effective 2017
- Korea was one of the first countries in Asia to adopt the UNCITRAL Model Law and the Korean Arbitration Act has recently been amended in 2016 to reflect the revised UNCITRAL Model Law
- Korean arbitration awards are enforceable in over 150 jurisdictions under the 1958 New York Convention
- Impartial and efficient judiciary with a pro-arbitration attitude and adaptive to changes in arbitration law
- Unique blend of civil law and common law tradition providing a comfortable environment for Parties from both jurisdictions
- Highly educated legal professionals fluent in English
- A dynamic social infrastructure ranked number 1 for the World’s Most Innovative Economy by the Bloomberg Innovation Index
- Optimal location as a Northeast Asian hub close to the region’s largest economies
- Excellent hearing facilities at Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center (Seoul IDRC) which is partnered with KCAB INTERNATIONAL.
Development of Korean Arbitration Legal Framework
Enactment of the Korean Arbitration Act:
The Korean Arbitration Act is promulgated, stipulating arbitrable commercial disputes will be resolved in accordance with a distinct body of arbitration law, under the provisions and applicable rules of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB), unless agreed otherwise.
The KCAB is inaugurated as the exclusive institution concerned with arbitrations of a commercial nature, under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce.
Accession to the 1958 New York Convention:
Korea precedes many other Asian states in becoming a signatory to the New York Convention, adopted to give effect to private agreement to arbitrate, in addition to recognising and enforcing arbitral awards made in other contracting states.
Adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law:
Korea becomes the first country in Asia to adopt the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law of Arbitration. The UNCITRAL Model Law puts forward legislative provisions to harmonise national laws worldwide.
Most notably, this includes limitation upon the extent to which a court can intervene in arbitral proceedings or set aside an arbitral agreement or arbitral award.
Incorporation of the 2006 UNCITRAL revisions:
Korea revises the Arbitration Act to implement international best practice standards, incorporated under the 2006 revision of the UNCITRAL Model Law.
The KCAB launches its new International Rules and a new Code of Ethics for its arbitrators. Available in 7 different languages, the new International Rules most notably provide for emergency and interim measures, expedited arbitral proceedings, and joinder of additional Parties.
Coming into effect of the Arbitration Industry Promotion Act:
The act includes provisions to expand dispute resolution facilities, to cultivate experts and professionals in the area of arbitration, and to support research and development in the arbitration field. This governmental support for arbitration officially recognizes the “arbitration industry”, and forms the basis for systematic promotion of arbitration under the Ministry of Justice.