When a revealed affair is a crime, but a hidden one is a romance: an overview of adultery law in the Republic of Korea

Black, Ann and Jung, Kwang-Soo (2014). When a revealed affair is a crime, but a hidden one is a romance: an overview of adultery law in the Republic of Korea. In Bill Atkin (Ed.), The International Survey of Family Law (pp. 275-308) Bristol, United Kingdom: Jordon Publishing.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Black, Ann
Jung, Kwang-Soo
Title of chapter When a revealed affair is a crime, but a hidden one is a romance: an overview of adultery law in the Republic of Korea
Title of book The International Survey of Family Law
Place of Publication Bristol, United Kingdom
Publisher Jordon Publishing
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
ISBN 9781846619915
ISSN 1384-623X
Editor Bill Atkin
Volume number 2014
Chapter number 16
Start page 275
End page 308
Total pages 34
Total chapters 29
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
It was a scandal that riveted South Koreans. In 2007, popular actor Park Chul accused his equally high-profile actress wife, Ok So-ri of adultery, that is, of having an extra-marital sexual affair, with two other men. The story played out in the Korean media just as stories of celebrity adultery are relished by the media around the world...

...The chapter is divided into six sections. Following this introductory section, section II reflects on adultery in an historical context where the criminal and civil consequences of marital infidelity on the Korean peninsula helve ebbed and flowed for several millennia. Section III looks at the crime of adultery including the current legislative provisions and how they are applied and interpreted in the District and Supreme Courts and the vexed issues of proof that can arise. This includes how such prosecutions proceed, how the evidentiary requirements needed to prove adultery are met, and the consequences when such evidence is obtained illegally, for example by trespass. It will highlight the interplay between criminal complaints and divorce proceedings which is a distinctive feature of the Korean system. Section IV will review and assess the constitutionality of adultery as a crime though analysis of the reasoning of the Constitutional Court of Korea, which has retained the validity of the offence on four separate occasions. Section V will focus on the civil consequences of adultery, both in terms of divorce outcomes and compensation claims. Section VI will assess the viability of adultery laws in light of changes within Korean society and discuss tensions between traditionalism and individualism and some of the unusual alliances that have arisen, for example, Confucianists aligning with feminists to support the retention stance. The chapter concludes that, whilst there are divergent views on adultery remaining a crime, there is still an acceptance that it has a role to play in the civil law realm. The Constitutional Court may be leaning towards reform but some obstacles still remain. Whilst the detail and discussion of these laws will be distinctively Korean, the core of the debate will resonate with tensions in family and moral issues prevalent across Asia.
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 10 Dec 2014, 15:56:17 EST by Claire Lam on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law