In the past, the Law School offered a single course on Korean legal affairs with the support of the Center. However, in order to reflect the growing complexities of the South and North Korean legal systems, the Law School has recently expanded the course into two courses. These courses are open to Law School students, students of the School of International and Public Affairs, and other Columbia divisions.
Offered in the Fall Semester, this course examines the rapidly transforming South Korean legal system from the perspective of its place in the global legal order. Beginning with an overview of the traditional sources of Korean law and legal thought, the course proceeds to examine the historical and on-going tensions between international and foreign legal influences and long-standing notions of law and society in Korea. Intended as a survey course of South Korean law and legal institutions, topics include cultural preferences associated with dispute resolution and the law, contemporary transformation of the legal profession, the development of notions of a democratic legal order and constitutionalism, synergy and conflict between international and domestic human rights standards, developments in criminal law, current challenges for corporate law and governance, and international legal issues involving South Korea, including trade, security and territorial disputes. Throughout the course, students are challenged to critically examine the way in which the Korean legal system has responded to the legal demands of a globalizing society and economy. To what degree has Korea been an active contributor on certain global issues while remaining passive on others? How do Korean solutions compare to solutions elsewhere in East Asia and the world? What do those solutions tell us about the prospects for regional governance mechanisms in East Asia and Korea's role in the development of transnational legal cooperation? View details in CLS Course Guide.
Geopolitics of Law and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula
Offered in the Spring, this course focuses on the complex domestic and international legal framework that informs North Korea’s relationships with surrounding large powers, including the United States, and South Korea. The course is divided into three parts. Part I focuses on North Korea’s WMD and missile program within the context of the existing international treaties regime and covers topics relating to the legal aspects of negotiating with a nuclear North Korea, including the role of the IAEA, and the impact of the 1994 Agreed Framework and KEDO. Part II explores the broader theme of North Korea’s relations with China, the United States, Russia and Japan in the context of human rights violations (including the international impact of domestic abuses and problems related to refugees in China), trafficking of drugs, and counterfeit currency. Part III focuses on inter-Korea relations, including a critical examination of the international and domestic legal issues related to establishing a permanent peace regime on the peninsula, territorial disputes involving the Northern Limit Line, the North Korean Constitution and hereditary succession, and the law and policy implications of unification. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on examining North Korean activities and behavior within the context of existing domestic and international legal norms. This course is included in the Law School's Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security. View details in CLS Course Guide.