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south koreaHome > Lawyers > South Korea > Constitution> rights and duties of the citizens
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Rights and Duties of the Citizens

Article 10  [Dignity, Pursuit of Happiness]
All citizens are assured of human worth and dignity and have the right to pursue happiness.  It is the duty of the State to confirm and guarantee the fundamental and inviolable human rights of individuals.
 
Article 11  [Equality]
(1) All citizens are equal before the law, and there may be no discrimination in political, economic, social, or cultural life on account of sex, religion, or social status.
(2) No privileged caste is recognized or ever established in any form.
(3) The awarding of decorations or distinctions of honor in any form is effective only for recipients, and no privileges ensue therefrom.
 
Article 12  [Personal Liberty, Personal Integrity]
(1) All citizens enjoy personal liberty.  No person may be arrested, detained, searched, seized, or interrogated except as provided by law.  No person may be punished, placed under preventive restrictions, or subject to involuntary labor except as provided by law and through lawful procedures.
(2) No citizens may be tortured or be compelled to testify against himself in criminal cases.
(3) Warrants issued by a judge through due procedures upon the request of a prosecutor have to be presented in case of arrest, detention, seizure, or search: Provided, that in a case where a criminal suspect is a apprehended in flagrante delicto, or where there is danger that a person suspected of committing a crime punishable by imprisonment of three years or more may escape or destroy evidence, investigative authorities may request an ex post facto warrant.
(4) Any person who is arrested or detained has the right to prompt assistance of counsel.  When a criminal defendant is unable to secure counsel by his own efforts, the State assigns counsel for the defendant as prescribed by law.
(5) No person may be arrested or detained without being informed of the reason therefore and of his right to assistance of counsel.  The family and other related persons, as designated by law, of a person arrested or detained shall be notified without delay of the reason for and the time and place of the arrest or detention.
(6) Any person who is arrested or detained, has the right to request the court to review the legality of the arrest or detention.
(7) In a case where a confession is deemed to have been made against a defendant's will due to torture, violence, intimidation, unduly prolonged arrest, deceit or similar action, or in a case where a confession is the only evidence against a defendant in a formal trial, such a confession may not be admitted as evidence of guilt, nor may a defendant be punished by reason of such a confession.
 
Article 13  [nulla poena sine lege, double jeopardy, retroactive law, family liability]
(1) No citizen may be prosecuted for an act which does not constitute a crime under the law in force at the time it was committed, nor may he be placed in double jeopardy.
(2) No restrictions may be imposed upon the political rights of any citizen, nor may any person be deprived of property rights by means of retroactive legislation.
(3) No citizen shall suffer unfavorable treatment on account of an act not of his own doing but committed by a relative.
 
Article 14  [Residence, Move]
All citizens enjoy the freedom of residence and the right to move at will.
 
Article 15  [Occupation]
All citizens enjoy freedom of occupation.
 
Article 16  [Home, Search, Seizure]
All citizens are free from intrusion into their place of residence.  In case of search or seizure in a residence, a warrant issued by a judge upon request of a prosecutor has to be presented.
 
Article 17  [Privacy]
The privacy of no citizen may be infringed.
 
Article 18  [Secrecy of Correspondence]
The secrecy of correspondence of no citizen may be infringed.
 
Article 19  [Conscience]
All citizens enjoy the freedom of conscience
 
Article 20  [Religion, Church]
(1) All citizens enjoy the freedom of religion.
(2) No state religion may be recognized, and church and state are to be separated.
 
Article 21  [Speech, Press, Assembly, Association, Honor, Public Morals]
(1) All citizens enjoy the freedom of speech and the press, and of assembly and association.
(2) Licensing or censorship of speech and the press, and licensing of assembly and association may not be recognized.
(3) The standard of news service and broadcast facilities and matters necessary to ensure the functions of newspapers is determined by law.
(4) Neither speech nor the press may violate the honor or rights of other persons nor undermine public morals or social ethics.  Should speech or the press violate the honor or rights of other persons, claims may be made for the damage resulting therefrom.
 
Article 22  [Learning, Intellectual Rights]
(1) All citizens enjoy the freedom of learning and the arts.
(2) The rights of authors, inventors, scientists, engineers, and artists are protected by law.
 
Article 23  [Property, Public Welfare, Expropriation]
(1) The right to property of all citizens is guaranteed.  Its contents and limitations are determined by law.
(2) The exercise of property rights shall conform to the public welfare.
(3) Expropriation, use, or restriction of private property from public necessity and compensation therefore are governed by law.  However, in such a case, just compensation must be paid.
 
Article 24  [Right to Vote]
All citizens have the right to vote under the conditions prescribed by law.
 
Article 25  [Right to Public Office]
All citizens have the right to hold public office under the conditions prescribed by law.
 
Article 26  [Petition]
(1) All citizens have the right to petition in writing to any governmental agency under the conditions prescribed by law.
(2) The State is obligated to examine all such petitions.
 
Article 27  [Right to Trial]
(1) All citizens have the right to be tried in conformity with the law by judges qualified under the Constitution and the law.
(2) Citizens who are not on active military service or employees of the military forces may not be tried by a court martial within the territory of the Republic of Korea, except in case of crimes as prescribed by law involving important classified military information, sentinels, sentry posts, the supply of harmful food and beverages, prisoners of war, and military articles and facilities, and in the case of the proclamation of extraordinary martial law.
(3) All citizens have the right to a speedy trial.  The accused have the right to a public trial without delay in the absence of justifiable reasons to the contrary.
(4) The accused are presumed innocent until a judgment of guilt has been pronounced.
(5) A victim of a crime is entitled to make a statement during the proceedings of the trial of the case involved under the conditions prescribed by law.
 
Article 28  [False Imprisonment]
In a case where a criminal suspect or an accused person who has been placed under detention is not indicted as provided by law or is acquitted by a court, he is entitled to claim just compensation from the State under the conditions as prescribed by law.
 
Article 29  [State and Official's Liability]
(1) In case a person has sustained damages by an unlawful act committed by a public official in the course of official duties, he may claim just compensation from the State or public organization under the conditions as prescribed by law.  In this case, the public official concerned are not immune from liabilities.
(2) In case a person on active military service or an employee of the military forces, a police official, or others as prescribed by law sustains damages in connection with the performance of official duties such as combat action, drill, and so forth, he is not entitled to a claim against the State or public organization on the grounds of unlawful acts committed by public officials in the course of official duties, but only to compensations as prescribed by law.
 
Article 30  [Victims]
Citizens who have suffered bodily injury or death due to criminal acts of others may receive aid from the State under the conditions as prescribed by law.
 
Article 31  [Education]
(1) All citizens have an equal right to receive an education corresponding to their abilities.
(2) All citizens who have children to support are responsible at least for their elementary education and other education asprovided by law.
(3) Compulsory education is free of charge.
(4) Independence, professionalism, and political impartiality of education and the autonomy of institutions of higher learning are guaranteed under the conditions as prescribed by law.
(5) The State promotes lifelong education.
(6) Fundamental matters pertaining to the educational system, including schools and lifelong education, administration, finance, and the status of teachers are determined by law.
 
Article 32  [Work]
(1) All citizens have the right to work.  The State endeavors to promote the employment of workers and to guarantee optimum wages through social and economic means and enforces a minimum wage system under the conditions as prescribed by law.
(2) All citizens have the duty to work.  The State prescribes by law the extent and conditions of the duty to work in conformity with democratic principles.
(3) Standards of working conditions are determined by law in such a way as to guarantee human dignity.
(4) Special protection has to be accorded to working women, and they may not be subjected to unjust discrimination in terms of employment, wages, and working conditions.
(5) Special protection has to be accorded to working children.
(6) The opportunity to work shall be accorded preferentially, under the conditions as prescribed by law, to those who have given distinguished service to the State, wounded veterans and policemen, and members of the bereaved families of military servicemen and policemen killed in action.
 
Article 33  [Unions]
(1) To enhance working conditions, workers have the right to independent association, collective bargaining, and collective action.
(2) Only those public officials who are designated by law, have the right to association, collective bargaining, and collective action.
(3) The right to collective action of workers employed by important defense industries may be either restricted or denied under the conditions as prescribed by law.
 
Article 34  [Welfare]
(1) All citizens are entitled to a life worthy of human beings.
(2) The State has the duty to endeavor to promote social security and welfare.
(3) The State endeavors to promote the welfare and rights of women.
(4) The State has the duty to implement policies for enhancing the welfare of senior citizen and the young.
(5) Citizens who are incapable of earning a livelihood due to a physical disability, disease, old age, or other reasons are protected by the State under the conditions as prescribed by law.
(6) The State endeavors to prevent disasters and to protect citizens from harm therefrom.
 
Article 35  [Environment, Housing]
(1) All citizens have the right to a healthy and pleasant environment.  The State and all citizens shall endeavor to protect the environment.
(2) The substance of the environmental right is determined by law.
(3) The State endeavors to ensure comfortable housing for all citizens through housing development policies and the like.
 
Article 36  [Marriage, Family, Mothers, Health]
(1) Marriage and family life are entered into and sustained on the basis of individual dignity and equality of the sexes, and the State must do everything in its power to achieve that goal.
(2) The State endeavors to protect mothers.
(3) The health of all citizens is protected by the State.
 
Article 37  [Restriction, No Infringement of Essentials]
(1) Freedoms and rights of citizens may not be neglected on the grounds that they are not enumerated in the Constitution.
(2) The freedoms and rights of citizens may be restricted by law only when necessary for national security, the maintenance of law and order, or for public welfare.  Even when such restriction is imposed, no essential aspect of the freedom or right shall be violated.
 
Article 38  [Duty to Pay Taxes]
All citizens have the duty to pay taxes under the conditions as prescribed by law.
 
Article 39  [Duty to Military Service]
(1) All citizens have the duty of national defense under the conditions as prescribed by law.
(2) No citizen may be treated unfavorably on account of the fulfillment of his obligation of military service. 
 
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