Introduction & History
The Ministry of Justice serves the people of the Republic of Korea by guarding and enforcing the Constitution and laws of the Republic. In addition to rendering legal advice to the President, Prime Minister, and other Ministers, the Ministry supervises the prosecution. It is also in charge of correctional and rehabilitative administration and immigration. The following introduces the organization and main functions of the Ministry, its affiliates, and the justice system.
The modern legal system of the Republic of Korea began to take its shape with the Kabo Reforms(1894~1895). Prior to the reforms, the legal system had been under an oriental monarchy system. The bureaucracy at that time, overseen by the king, exercised all three national powers: the legislative, the judicial and the executive power. There were governmental bodies in charge of judicial functions, including prosecution and punishment of criminals, and local officials who exercised a certain judicial power over their respective jurisdictions although they did not have full independence.
In 1894, Bubmuamun(Office of Legal Affairs) was established to administer legal affairs and to provide prosecution and court functions. While the Bubmuamun, a modern judicial branch, cannot be equated with today's Ministry of Justice because of its court functions, the separation of judicial operations from the government administration is recognized as a major step towards the formulation of the modern legal system.
In 1895, the Court Organization Act was promulgated to grant complete separation of the Judiciary branch from the Executive branch, and the attorney system was established under the 45th Royal Edict. Consequently, Bubmuamun was renamed to Bubbu(Legal Department).
On July 17, 1948, the Government Organization Act was promulgated, establishing the Ministry of Justice as a part of the government organization. A few months later, the internal organization of the Ministry of Justice was formed pursuant to the Presidential Decree. The Ministry of Justice has mostly retained its original structure and functions while it continues to make necessary adjustment to adapt to the contemporary demands in legal affairs.