New law schools are key to legal reform in South Korea

South Korea hopes the introduction of law schools will help facilitate reform of the countrys judicial system.

The Judiciary Reform Committee was launched last year in response to increasing demands from the public for South Koreas judicial system, which has not undergone any major change for more than 50 years, to institute radical reform. This follows the drastic political, social and cultural changes that Korean society has gone through since the early 1990s.

The committee has unveiled plans to introduce US-style law schools in 2008 and phase out the present state-run bar exam by 2013.
Reports in The Korea Times state that the upcoming law schools are expected to play a pivotal role in overhauling the inflexible system and provide more practical legal education in their three-year courses.

Many were disappointed there are not spaces for more students. According to The Korea Times, a press conference was held by the 97 universities offering law courses denouncing the limited number of spaces. It cannot be called a reform if the government tries to stick to the current number of lawyers, one student leader is reported as saying.

Other proposed changes from the Judiciary Reform Committee include overhauling the current appointment regulations of judicial officials and changing the rigid organisation and function of the Supreme Court. The committee is also studying ways of introducing a US-style jury system.