History

Welcome to Seoul National University School of Law

School of Law at Seoul National University, with its long and rich tradition, has enliven the contemporary history of Korea, sharing the nation's ups and downs, the glory and the shadow.

This historic Centennial History publication records the institutional development of Seoul National University School of Law, and further reveals the realities and the general background concerning the legal education and academism in Korea.(drafted by Chongko Choi, Professor of Legal History, Seoul National University School of Law)

Retrospect and Prospect

The Korean society in the recent years has experienced a rapid change in every political, economic, social and cultural sector, with the intensive and expansive discussions on the mass society and the globalization with the changing times. The legal education also requires new approaches and logic. Facing the challenge, School of Law has extended many teaching and research facilities in the recent years. First of all, the size of the faculty increased to forty members, and the curricula became rich with the relatively new fields of intellectual property law, law and technology, environmental law, and feminist jurisprudence, to name a few.

The faculty research building(Building No. 17) was remodeled to add two more stories. The research building remodeling and extension project included the construction of two faculty conference rooms dedicated to two of School of Law's distinguished graduates: Yoomin Hall dedicated to Hong Chinki(1917-1986), a renowned politician and businessman; and Soam Hall dedicated by and named after Yoon Seyoung(1936-), a distinguished businessman and the previous owner of the Seoul Broadcasting System.

Facing the challenges and competitions from within Korea, as well as establishing itself as an international academic legal institution, School of Law's faculty should further increase to no less than fifty, in order to appropriately apportion the resources necessary to administer the core functions of the legal education. This will provide lectures that meet the students' need and challenge their academic potentials, more personalized and substantiated student supervision, and research activities of the highest caliber.

The study of law will only become further refined in quality as the interacting society matures. Also, when an academic institution is gifted with the staff that has a great potential and is ready to meet the academic challenges, one can expect an even greater positive effect on the staff's research activities when such research activities are encouraged and supported by adequate research environment and effective joint effort from inside and outside the academia. Given that School of Law admits the most qualified students of the nation every year, it is the responsibility of School of Law and the entire nation to provide for such students the best legal education possible, so that such individuals will satisfy their intellectual enthusiasm, discover their potentials, and further excel in the fields of their choice, including the judiciary, public administration, economy and culture. In this regard, some of the most urgent tasks for School of Law include an increased and more effective interactions between the academia and the law practitioners as well as within the academia, and an effort to define and develop a unique method of legal education better suited to Korea's own legal culture and social demands.

Facing an era of ever increasing challenges and competition domestically and from abroad, many tasks lie ahead Seoul National University School of Law beyond its centennial history. School of Law, Seoul National University, is ready, more than ever before, to take on the uncompromising pursuit of excellence that has long been a part of its tradition, for one hundred years.

School of Law in the 2000s

School of Law has produced a great number of graduates over one century. Statistics shows that the Judicial Officials Training Institute produced 210 graduates, the Law School 29 graduates, Kyungsung Professional School 360 graduates, Kyungsung Professional Law School 1,283 graduates, Keijo Imperial University 335 graduates, and Seoul National University School of Law 15,121 graduates (by the 58th commencement in 2004), the total number being 17,338. As they did in the past, the graduates of School of Law do and will continue to play an indispensable leadership role, in practically all of the fields of law, politics, economy, society and culture, within the nation and worldwide.

Living at the heart of School of Law's daily operations through its long-term development projects, the Alumni Association has served and accommodated the multifaceted and challenging needs of the School of Law community proactively, since its inaugural meeting on November 2, 1957. The Alumni Association has also been publishing the Naksan Hoebo bulletin, and renewed its voluminous membership list nine times. Further, the scholarship fund from the Naksan Scholarship Committee has been one of the most prestigious and invaluable financial resources available to the undergraduate students to support their legal studies each year.

In 1999, the expansive "Brain Korea 21 (BK 21)" research project was launched under the general title of the "Development of Korean Law in the Global Legal System," with virtually all of School of Law's faculty members participating. The project particularly aims to enhance and substantiate the legal education at the graduate school of law. As of the publication of this centennial history, there are four research centers or hubs implementing the BK 21 project: the Center for Law and Economy (director: Kwon Oseung), the Center for Public Interest and Human Rights Law (director: Chung Insup), the Center for Korean Law (director: Choi Chongko), and the Center for Comparative Studies of Legal System (director: Ho Munhyok).

Kuksan Law Library has continuously made an uncompromising effort to better supply research materials for the School of Law community and for the public. The Law Library currently contains certain special collections such as Ferdinand Kniep Collection (5639 volumes), Friedrich Tezner Collection (967 volumes), Ernst Zittelman Collection (879 volumes), Bae Jeonghyon Collection (559 volumes), Kang Kuchin Collection (375 volumes), Yu Minsang Collection (168 volumes), Chung Hichul Collection (155 volumes), Yoon Sukeum Collection (140 volumes), Kim Kwinam Collection (301 volumes), Lee Heungbae Collection (174 volumes), Hong Nampyo Collection (1367 volumes), Kwak Chul (3800 volumes), Kim Dochang Collection (4827 volumes), Sung Minkyung Collection (212 volumes), and Cho Youngrae Collection (300 volumes). The following faculty members served as the directors of the Law Library: Lee Taero, Hwang Jeokin, Choi Daikwon, Ahn Kyonghwan, Choi Byoungjo, Chung Insup, Yoon Jinsoo, and Jong Sangjo.

As previously noted, the Law Research Institute has published the Seoul Law Journal in the Korean language and various other monographs. Further, the Law Research Institute has sponsored many symposiums and seminars. There are two research centers affiliated to the Law Research Institute: the Center for Financial Law and the Center for Law and Technology. The following faculty members served as the directors of the Law Research Institute: Ryu Kichyun, Lee Hankey, Chung Hichul, Kim Chisun, Pai Jaishik, Suh Wonwoo, Kim Tchulsu, Hwang Jeokin, Kwon Youngsung, Lee Hojung, Yang Seungkyu, Choi Daikwon, Kim Konsik, and Choi Byoungjo.

The Special Document Room(the "Treasure Room") located within the faculty research building (Building No. 17) contains many of the rare original documents, including original writings of the deceased faculty members and the writings and publications of landmarking legal scholars and law practitioners. Choi Chongko is in charge of the operation of the "Treasure Room."

The most recently appointed faculty members are: Song Ok-Rial, Choi Bongkyong, Gu Daehwan, Yang Hyuna, Park Unzong, Song Seokyoon, Rhee Woo-young, and Kim Hyungseok. As of March of 2004, the number of the faculty members amounts to forty. Kim Donghee served as the twentieth dean of School of Law (June 2000 - June 2002). Ahn Kyongwhan is currently serving as School of Law's twenty-first dean (June 2002 - present).

  1. 2004

    Foreign scholars were invited to join the faculty on a contractual basis to promote understanding of the foreign law. ak-In Sung became the College’s twenty-second dean.

  2. 2002

    Kyong-Whan Ahn became the College’s twenty-first dean. During his tenure, the faculty’s building was remodeled and expanded, and on-line networks have been established between College and the alumni association

School of Law in the 1990s

The construction of a new faculty research building (Building No. 17) began on April 4, 1990, which was completed in three years on March 20, 1993. As an inaugural event to celebrate the opening of the new research building, School of Law hosted an international symposium entitled the "Asian Legal Education in the Age of Globalization" at the new building's faculty conference room. The year 1995 marked the hundredth anniversary of the modern legal system and education in Korea, and also the centennial of Seoul National University School of Law itself. The Alumni Association of Seoul National University School of Law launched a historic project to construct the "Centennial Hall of the Modern Legal Education."

Various groups and individuals supported the project and contributed to the construction of the Centennial Hall. The Centennial Hall's Jusan Hall was built by the donation from Kim Woojung of Daewoo Group. In front of the Centennial Hall, the "Bell of Justice(Jongui ui jong)" stands with the engraving of a haetae with a single horn, the traditional symbol of law and justice.

Also, discussions on the institutional reform of the legal education became increasingly active around 1995. There had been ongoing reform discussions within and outside the College especially since the 1970s, however, it had been rare that such discussions ripened into an extended model for a five-year or six-year term. One of the major issues for more recent discussions since mid-1990s has been seeking an appropriate institutional model for the legal education, proactively analyzing the graduate-level professional law school model as in the U.S. The government has pursued the graduate-level professional law school model, however, with no tangible result to the present, largely due to the lack of consensus among the legal scholars and practitioners, and also due to certain practical concerns as manifested by the judiciary. Related to the above discussion concerning the introduction of a graduate-level professional law school model, the number of the newly admitted attorneys passing the national judicial examination has gradually increased at the rate of approximately one-hundred more persons each year.

In 1996, as part of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Seoul National University, Dean Robert Clark of Harvard Law School was invited for a lecture. In 1997, School of Law launched an academic partnership program with Freiburg University Law Faculty in Germany. A bi-national symposium between the faculty members of the two schools has been held annually at Seoul National University School of Law and Freiburg University Law Faculty in turn.

The newly appointed faculty members during this period include: Kwon Oseung, Nam Hyosun, Jong Sangjo, Chung Insup, Han Insup, Chang Seunghwa, Lee Yongshik, Kim Jaihyung, Yoon Jinsoo, Park Junghoon, Chung Geungsik, Lee Changhee, Cho Hongshik, Sung Nakin, and Chung Chongsup. Park Byongho served as School of Law's fifteenth dean (June 1990 - June 1992). Suh Wonwoo was the sixteenth (June 1992 - June 1994), Paik Choonghyun the seventeenth (June 1994 - June 1996), Song Sanghyun the eighteenth (June 1996 - June 1998), and Kim Yoosung was the nineteenth (June 1998 - June 2000) dean of School of Law.

  1. 1995

    School of Law's Centenary. SNU School of Law's Alumni Association published The Centennial History of the School of Law', and constructed the 'Centennial Hall of Mod Education', completed in 1996.

  2. 1993

    A new legal research building for the faculty was completed (Building No. 17), and a conference led the 'Asian Legal Education in the Age of Internationalization' was held in commemoration.

School of Law in the 1980s

The 1980s was dawned by the demarcating "Spring of Seoul," following President Park Chunghee's death in late 1979. On October 26, 1979, President Park was assassinated by Kim Chaekyu, the then incumbent head of the KCIA. Primarily through demonstrations and protests, the students and the intellectuals across the nation demanded democratization. Lee Susung, the dean for student affairs at this period, had to mediate and sometimes negotiate between the students and the government.

The situation rapidly worsened as General Chun Doohwan seized the power within the government and formed a new military government in early 1980s. By 1983, the once reduced size of the student body increased across Seoul National University.

In 1983, the number of the registered students at Seoul National University was approximately 27,000; among them, the number of the law students was 1,219. In order to provide legal education for the increased number of students, School of Law moved in August 1983 to a newly constructed Law Building(Building No. 15), adjacent to Kuksan Law Library.

Kuksan Law Library was built with the financial support of the School of Law Alumni Association, and with the major contribution from Kim Taeksoo(1926-1983) in particular, who was a graduate of School of Law and a businessman and politician. Kuksan Law Library opened in December 1983, with a reading room containing two-hundred and forty seats and a reference room containing thirty seats. Kuksan Law Library is the only specialized law library in Korea.

  1. 1989

    The School of Law Alumni Association published the 'SNU School of Law Historical Reference.

  2. 1988

    Section of Labor Law Studies was organized. This section was designed to study major issues of labor law through seminars and other activities.

  3. 1987

    Section of Democracy and Legal Studies was organized. This section was designed for the study of the relationship between democracy and legal studies in contemporary society.

  4. 1985

    Section of Law and Economic Studies was organized.

  5. 1984

    Section of Legal History Studies was organized.

  6. 1983

    The College moved to newly constructed Law Building (Building No. 15) to meet the needs of the increased number of students. Taek Su Kim, of the 6th graduation class, dedicated the Kooksan Law Library, with a general reading room accommodating 240 seats and a reference room with 30 seats.

  7. 1982

    • Section of Law and Society was organized. This section was designed to study the law as a social science.
    • Section of Law and Society was organized. This section was designed to apply a philosophical
    • approach to legal studies.
  8. 1981

    The School of Law increased the size of its entering class from 160 to 348 students pursuant to its division into two College, the department of private law and the department of public law.

School of Law in the 1970s

Throughout the 1970s, School of Law continued to seek to substantiate the legal education and to broaden the horizon at the same time. The political situation outside the campus was discouraging and increasingly complicated as President Park Chunghee's prolonged regime incrementally turned into a dictatorship.

The student demonstrations against the Park Chunghee regime were ubiquitous both on and off campus. In his criminal law class, Ryu Kichun stated that it was likely that Park Chunghee would form an emergency regime similar to the Taiwanese government. It was the very first open criticism to Park Chunghee's authority from an intellectual. Ryu, as a consequence, was faced with his life in danger, however, was able to make an exile to U.S. in January of 1972. Ryu died on June 27, 1998 in San Diego, California. A commemoration committee was organized to recognize and commemorate Ryu's undaunted courage as an intellectual, and his rich publications as a productive scholar and writer.

On October 25, 1973, the Korean Central Intelligence Agency(KCIA) announced that one of School of Law's faculty members, Choi Chongkil, committed suicide during the investigation and interrogation by the KCIA. During the period immediately following his death, the extremely suppressive political atmosphere frustrated any effort to officially raise questions surrounding Choi's death. However, through the recent claims made by the Catholic Priests Association for Justice being the main thrust, the truth about Choi's death was eventually revealed to have been caused by KCIA's physical abuse and torture. School of Law dedicated a memorial hall to Choi Chongkil in its law classroom building in 2003.

In 1975, all of the individual colleges of Seoul National University that had previously been dispersed throughout Seoul and its vicinity moved to the single Kwanak campus. School of Law also moved to and became a vital part of the new Kwanak campus. As it moved to the new campus, School of Law integrated both Department of Law and Department of Public Administration within a single college unit. Upon such unification, however, some administrative difficulties arose. Accordingly, in 1981, School of Law decided to divide the college into the following two College: Department of Public Law and Department of Private Law.

Some faculty members, including Hwang Sandok, Yang Homin and Kim Kison, left School of Law during this period of political turbulence, due to various reasons. Some of the faculty members appointed during this period were: Suh Wonwoo (administrative law), Yi Hojung (civil law), Choi Kiwon (commercial law), Shim Hunsup (jurisprudence), and Kang Kuchin (criminal law).

The ninth dean of School of Law was Suh Tonkak (March 1970 - May 1972). The tenth dean was Kim Chunghan (May 1972 - May 1976). Lee Hankey once again served as the eleventh dean (May 1976 - May 1980).

  1. 1975

    SNU School of Law moved to Gwanak campus and merged with SNU Department of Public Administration.

School of Law in the 1960s

The beginning of the 1960s was marked with two of the "revolutions": the April 19 student movement in 1960, and the military coup d'etat on May 16, 1961. At the whirl of the student movement of 1960, School of Law lost some of its own members, such as Park Donghoon, then a freshman. During the Second Republic of Korea in the 1960s, students demonstrations and protests were ceaseless. The military government arbitrarily reduced the size of the class for School of Law from three-hundred to one-hundred sixty, based

on its assumption that School of Law was the prime locus and impetus of the student demonstrations.

The size of the class hence cut down by the military government in the early 1960s in fact remained at the same level until 1981. Also, notably, during the process of great political changes, many of School of Law's faculty members were called to politics and administrative posts outside academia.

One of the most remarkable changes in School of Law's history during the 1960s was the establishment of the Graduate School of Law(Sapop Daehakwon) as School of Law's auxiliary institution. At the opening ceremony for the new Graduate School of Law, Earl Warren, the then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was invited to celebrate its inauguration. Through the energy and the endeavor brought in by Dean Ryu Kichyun, the Graduate School aimed to provide higher professional legal education for the future members of the judiciary. From April 1962 until December 1970, the Graduate School produced fourteen classes consisting of five-hundred eight graduates altogether. This Graduate School was later transformed into the currently existing Judicial Research and Training Institute(Sapop Yonsuwon) within the judiciary. The history of the Graduate School provides a valuable lesson for the ongoing discussion on how to reform legal education in Korea.

On August 27, 1965, Ryu Kichyun was nominated as the president of Seoul National University. The "Unified Campus Project" began in 1965. New faculty members nominated during the 1960s included: Yang Homin, Kim Dochang, Chung Ilyoung, Kim Tchulsu, Im Wontaek, Park Byoungho, Kim Chisun, Lee Taero, Choi Chongkil, Kwon Taejun, Lee Siyoon, Hwang Jeokin, Dong Dukmo, Chun Wonbae, Kim Sukjo, Choi Daikwon, Kim Donghee, and Song Sanghyun. In order to further encourage legal research, the Korean Comparative Legal Research Institute(Hankuk Bikyopop Yonkuso) was annexed to School of Law in April 1961.

It was renamed as the Korean Legal Research Institute(Hankuk Pophak Yokuso) in March 1964, and once again renamed as the Seoul National University Legal Research Institute in September 1966 as it has remained as such until today. The Legal Research Institute holds all of the faculty members at School of Law as its research staff, and publishes the Seoul Law Journal. During the same period, some young law scholars were nominated as the research staff who later became integrated to the faculty: Lee Susung, Yang Seungkyu, Paik Chunghyun, Choi Songhwa, and Kim Yoosung. School of Law's sixth dean was Ryu Kichyun(July 1962 - August 1965). The seventh dean was Kim Kidu (August 1965 - March 1967). Lee Hankey served as the eighth dean (March 1967 - March 1970).

  • 1963

    Section of Private Law Studies organized. This section was designed for participation the legal profession based on the understanding of the law of civil and commercial procedure, by means of moot court and other activities.

  • 1961

    Ki-Ghun Ryu was named SNU School of Law’s sixth dean. During his tenure, Judicial Graduate School was established to directly connect the legal education at SNU School of Law and the education for the members of the judiciary. The School provided a new direction for Korean legal education and its 508 graduates play an active role as the core of legal practitioners even today. The School was abolished and replaced with Judicial Research and Training Institute in 1970.

    Comparative Legal Research Institute was founded to emphasize legal research; renamed to SNU Legal Research Institute in 1966. The Institute has been publishing ‘Seoul Law Journal’ since 1966.

School of Law in the 1950s

In June of 1950, the sudden outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953) forced the newly established School of Law to suspend lectures and to temporarily relocate to Busan, the southernmost harbor in Kyungsang Province. All of the universities in refuge from the war were temporarily united as the War-time United University in Busan. School of Law, Seoul National University, used a structure at Daeshindong Hill during its refuge period. However, even under the most challenging and hostile circumstances during the war,

neither the faculty nor the students were discouraged, and the legal community pursued the tradition of the legal education of the highest caliber with even greater enthusiasm.

provisional Under the initiative of Dean Ryu Kichyun (1915-1998), the phrase "Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum" was displayed on the arch at the entrance to School of Law. The Korean Association of Legal Scholars was initiated also during this period by School of Law. Some of the new members who joined the faculty in the early 1950s include: Lee Hankey (international law), Kim Kidu (criminal procedure), Hwang Sandok (jurisprudence), Shin Taewhan (economics), No Yongho (criminal law), Cha Rakhoon (commercial law), and Chung Inhung (political science). On April 26, 1952, School of Law held its sixth commencement ceremony at the auditorium of Busan University. There were eighty-five law graduates.

The overseas research program for the faculty members was also adopted in the 1950s. Ryu Kichyun, Kim Chunghan(1920-1988), Lee Hankey( 1917-1995) and Kim Kidu(1920-1993) conducted their research in the United States for a one-year period. They brought in new theories and valuable insights with respect to the Anglo-American law and legal sciences. The atmosphere of the Korean legal academism became open to comparative perspectives, and the comparison and the synthesis of and between the Continental-German and the Anglo-American legal theories became more active. Also, the Research Association of International Law was founded in June of 1953, of which the president was Yu Chin-O.

The third dean of School of Law was Jin Seungrok, who served as the dean at the very first part of the 1950s (February 1950 - October 1950). Subsequently in the 1950s, Ryu Kichyun served as an acting dean during the Korean war (October 1950 - August 1952), then Koh Byoungkuk again served as School of Law's fourth dean (August 1952 - June 1957). The fifth dean was Shin Taewhan (July 1957 - July 1961). The new faculty members nominated during this period included: Kwak Yoonchik (civil law), Pai Jaishik (international law), Chung Hicul (commercial law), Kim Chin (private international law), Bang Sunwon (civil procedure), and Lee Insong (commercial law).

School of Law shared the loss and the tragedy of the Korean war as some of its faculty and many of its students were killed and lost during the war. Meanwhile, as the war ended in 1953, Seoul National University returned to Seoul after three years as a refugee in Busan. The post-war period of seven years in the 1950s was dedicated to restoring and reconstruction. Notably, many research-oriented student associations were formed during this post-war period, for example, the Civil Law Research Association on June 1, 1957, and the Criminal Law Association on June 22, 1957.

The year 1957 also witnessed a symbolic move in the history of the Korean legal education: On October 8, 1957, the alumni associations of Kyungsung Professional Law School and Keijo Imperial University, two of the most immediate ancestors of Seoul National University School of Law, were integrated into the alumni association of Seoul National University School of Law. Also, memorializing the homecoming to alma mater, the Alumni Association of Seoul National University School of Law donated the "Bell of Justice" in front of the law classroom building on October 15, 1956. Also during this period, the Naksan scholarship foundation(Naksan Changhakhoe) was formed to financially support the law students and the legal education, under the initiative of the Alumni Association.

On January 13, 1959, the Graduate School of Public Administration was founded within School of Law's compound, as School of Law's sister institution. Some of the young legal scholars were encouraged to study this relatively new field at University of Minnesota with financial support. They later became the faculty members at this new institution.

  1. 1957

    SNU School of Law Alumni Association was organized.

  2. 1954

    Section of International Law Studies was organized. This section was designed for the study of the theory and practice of international law through periodic seminars and moot court competitions.

  3. 1953

    The College returned to Seoul campus. Section of Public Law Studies was organized.

  4. 1952

    An overseas study program (Smith-Mundt Program) was established for the faculty members; distinguished scholars such as Ki-Chun Ryu, Jeung-Han Kim, Han-Gi Lee and Gi-Du Kim spent one year on the program. They introduced new theories of Anglo-American law in the College curriculum and published legal textbooks.

  5. 1950

    All lectures were suspended due to the Korean War and the College was evacuated to Pusan.

Seoul National University (1945~)

Following the independence of Korea from the Japanese colonial rule in 1945, the U.S. military government in Korea sought to establish a national university in Korea by making the best use of the existing educational facilities. The idea of building a national university in Korea was initially confronted with the oppositions from the radical communists, however, it was eventually realized through the support of the nationalist professors and students.

Throughout such a turbulence at its inception, Koh Byoungkuk(1909-1976), the then principal of Kyungsung Professional Law School, played an important role in integrating the existing Law School into the newly founded Seoul National University.

As an interim measure, the existing Keijo Imperial University was renamed as Kyungsung University. On October 7, 1945, the Chaplain Lieutenant Harry B. Ansted (1893-1955) was nominated as the first president of Seoul National University. The dean of the Department of Law and Literature was Paik Rakjun(George Paik, 1895-1985), who was a church historian and later served as the president of Yonsei University.This newly founded institution assumed the name of Kyungsung University until the new name of Seoul National University was adopted in 1946.

The law faculty during this interim period included: Yu Chin-O, Suh Jaiwon, Yoon Dongjik, Yoon Haengjung, Pak Keukche, An Hosang, and Son Chintae.

On October 15, 1946, Seoul National University was officially established with eight colleges. The historic first lecture was given by Kim Chunghan on western legal history. The University emblem was designed by Chang Bal, the then dean of the School of Art, with a Latin phrase "veritas lux mea." The faculty members of the School of Law included: Koh Byoungkuk, Ryu Kichyun, Kim Chunghan, Pak Kwansuk (international law), Chang Sukman (constitutional law), Choi Taeyoung (commercial law), Chung Kwanghyun (family law), Kim Kisun (civil law), Pai Boksuk (finance), Han Taeyon (constitutional law), Om Minyoung, Suh Tonkak, and In Younghwan (physical training). Ernst Fraenkel, who served as a legal adviser to the U.S. government in Korea, taught international private law as a lecturer.

In August of 1947, several new professors joined the faculty: Chu Jaiwhang (civil law), Chu Yusun (commercial law), Pak Sangil (civil procedure), Lee Keunho (criminal law), Yoon Sechang (administrative law), Kim Bongkwan (civil law), and Lee Kyungho (public law). There were also full-time lecturers, including: Kim Seungchil (Korean legal history), Lee Seungok (criminal law), Kim Kisu (criminal procedure), Lee Chinyong (civil law), Chun Hakyon (political science), Koh Kwangrim (history of legal philosophy), and Paik Samchul (physical training).

In the 1940s, the School of Law's deanship was assumed by Koh Byoungkuk (October 1946 - December 1947) and Choi Taeyoung (December 1947 - February 1949). Also, Lee Sunkun served as an acting dean in the last part of the 1940s (February 1949 - February 1950).

  1. 1949

    Section of Criminal Law Studies was organized. This section was designed for the study of criminal law and criminology through moot court and other activities.

  2. 1947

    Kyungsung Imperial University School of Law merged with Kyungsung Professional School of Law to form Seoul National University School of Law. Byong-Guk Koh served as the College’s inaugural dean.

Japanese Ruling Period

After the annexation of Korea to the Japanese empire in 1910, the Poppkwan Yangsungso, which had existed for fourteen years, was transformed into Pophakgyo(Law School) on October 28, 1909. This change was meant as a degradation to a limited professional school, reflecting a manipulative policy under the Japanese colonial rule.

After the annexation of Korea to the Japanese empire in 1910, the Poppkwan Yangsungso, which had existed for fourteen years, was transformed into Pophakgyo(Law School) on October 28, 1909. This change was meant as a degradation to a limited professional school, reflecting a manipulative policy under the Japanese colonial rule.

However, the Law School survived many of the hindrances from the colonial rule and maintained the tradition as an institution dedicated to educate the nation's judicial officials. Under the principalship of Nozawa Takenoske, nine of the teaching staff were nominated, such as Sok Jinhyong, Kim Kyomyong, Yang Daekyong, Yim Sungho, to name a few. The Law School produced twenty-nine graduates.

On October 10, 1911, still under the Japanese colinial rule, the General Governor of Korea renamed the Pophakgyo as Kyungsung Chonsu Hakgyo(Seoul Professional School). The Deputy of Education, Sekiya Sadasaburo, became the principal of this new institution. This School existed until 1916, producing one-hundred forty-three graduates. Among the faculties, Kim Byoungro, Yang Daekyong, and Park Yonghee are to be recognized particularly.

On April 1, 1916, the School was reorganized under the same name. Judge Abiko Masaru was nominated as a new principal. The faculty consisted of Akiyama Yukie, Sok Jinhyong, Seiya Sadasaburo, Yang Daekyong, Nishimura Shintaro, Oda Shogo, Sato Shigeharu, Park Yonghee, Shigeta Kanjiro, Adachi Daiske, Sudo Bunkichi, Kim Byoungro, Dakabashi Torahiko, Kumabe Ichio, Nakamura Eiske, and Hara Koshiro. The number of the graduates was two-hundred and seventeen.

On March 23, 1922, the General Governor issued a decree renaming the School as Kyungsung Pophak Chonmun Hakgyo(Seoul Professional Law School). The new Law School tried to ascend its status to the level of a college in vain. In 1926, the members of the faculty included: Sato Sichtaro (principal), Dakamastu Dastudane (civil law), Sakaji Hidetomo (criminal law), Maruyama Keichiro (civil law), Isobe Shoske (commercial law), Saka Yoshihiko (civil law, introduction to legal science), Sonobe Satoshi (public law), Yokota Doshio (civil procedure) and Nomura Jotaro (bankruptcy law). Other than the above listed from Japan, the Law School's faculty included certain individuals from Korea such as Kim Byoungro, Sok Jinhyoung, Yang Daekyong, Park Yonghee, Chung Uk, and Kim Myoungsu. The Law School moved from Kwangwhamun to Chongryangri in April, 1938. The Law School was confronted with a severe Japanese war-time policy. Following the retirement of the inaugural principal Dakamatsu in March, 1940, Mastuda Yoshi was nominated as the new principal. However, the Law School was soon forced not to admit new students. The Law School produced its last class of sixty-five graduates in September, 1944, which was the twenty-third class from the inception of the institution, counting all of its preceding forms of institutions. The Law School was faced with great difficulties under the Japanese rule, however, its graduates endeavored to maintain the nationalistic and patriotic tradition of the legal educational institution.

  1. 1923

    Kyungsung Professional School was renamed to Kyungsung Professional School of Law.

  2. 1911

    Judicial Officials Training Institute was renamed to Kyungsung Professional School of in the aftermath of the Korea-Japan Annexation.

Keijo Imperial University

On the other hand, the Japanese nationals residing in Korea demanded an imperial university to educate their children in their Korean colony. On behalf of the Japanese National Assembly, Hozumi Nobushike asserted the necessity of such an institution taking the example of Strasbourg University in Alsace-Lorraine established by the Germans. The preliminary course for such purposes was initially offered in 1924, under the deanship of Oda Shogo.

In two years, Keijo Imperial University was established on March 15, 1926, and Hattori Unokichi, a philosophy professor at Tokyo University, was nominated as the first president of this new university in Seoul. Keijo Imperial University invited a groupof young and competent professors to teach. The Department of Law and Literature at Keijo Imperial University offered only a very limited eligibility for the Korean nationals. Nevertheless, quite a number of Korean students were educated at this university in its law department. The faculty of the Department of Law and Literature at Keijo Imperial University included: Otaka Tomoo for legal philosophy, Funada Kyoji for Roman law, Hanamura Miki for criminal law, Matsuoka Shutaro for administrative law, Kiyomizu Sitaro for constitutional law, and Ariizumi for civil law. Professor Funada, who was the director of the University Library, was responsible for the acquisition of many of valuable German books from Germany and the German-occupied Shantung Peninsular of China.

There was not a single Korean national among the faculty. From 1928 through 1944, the faculty at Keijo Imperial University published fifteen volumes of the Keijo Pophakhoe Nonjip(Keijo Law Association Journal).

Keijo Imperial University produced eight-hundred twenty-three graduates from 1929 to 1941. Among such graduates, Yu Chin-O(1906-87), who graduated in 1929, greatly contributed in drafting the inaugural Korean constitution and the development of the Korean legal education. Min Boki(1913- ), who graduated in 1937, later became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea in 1968. Yi Youngsup(1919 -2000), who graduated in 1942, also served as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea.

An understanding of the academic foundations of Keijo Imperial University during its thirty years of existence is essential in understanding the current legal academism at Seoul National University. Even though Keijo Imperial University itself was undoubtedly governed by the Japanese, the academic atmosphere at Keijo Imperial University was rather liberal and of a great quality, compared with the universities in Japan around the same period. With the independence of Korea from the Japanese colonial rule, Keijo Imperial University's Korean alumni were integrated to the alumni association of Seoul National University, while the Japanese alumni operate an alumni center in Tokyo, Japan. A publication of their recollections of "good old days" is a valuable resource in an effort to understand the history of Seoul National University prior to its establishment in 1945.

  1. 1926

    Kyungsung Imperial University School of Law was established.

Popkwan Yangsungso

The origin of School of Law at Seoul National University is traced back to the Judicial Officials Training Institute(Popkwan Yangsungso) established on April, 23, 1895, during the late Yi Dynasty. The then Minister of Justice Suh Kwangbom(1859-1897) proposed to King Kojong on December 16, 1894, to establish a national institution to educate judicial officials, following the Kabo Reform, which was intended as a sweeping reformation of the government. On March 25, 1895, the first modern law, including the Law of Court Organization, was decreed. The Institute aimed to introduce the modern western legal science in harmony with the traditional jurisprudence. At its inception, the curricula included: the introduction to legal science, civil law, criminal law, civil and criminal procedures, contemporary laws, and judicial procedure. Subsequently, since 1904, some new subjects were added, including constitutional law, administrative law, international law, commercial law, and foreign laws. Interestingly, later in its operation, some of the traditional jurisprudential subjects such as the Ming Code and Muwonrok(traditional forensic medicine) were added, while the judicial procedure was omitted in 1906. The eligibility for the admissions to the Institute was limited to the age group of 20 to 35. The graduates were conferred with a degree of Songpophaksa (Bachelor of Law).

The first director of the Institute was Pi Sangbom(1856-), who was an officer at the Ministry of Justice, and also served as a prosecutor and a judge. The following eleven individuals subsequently served as the directors of the Institute: Lee Inyoung(January 1903-June 1904), Shim Sangik(June 1904-July 1904), Lee Jiyong(July 1904-October 1904), Kim Kyuhi(October 1904-February 1905), Kim Nakhon(March 1905-December 1905), Lee Myonwoo(December 1905-June 1906), Min Hyungsik(June 1906-June 1906), Nozawa Takenoske(July 1907-January 1908).

The following is the list of the professors who lectured at the Institute: Ko Iksang, Kong Myoju, Ku Konso,Kwon Byounghoon, Kim Kyehyoung, Kim Kyomyong, Kim Donmyong, Kim Sangyon, Kim Yougku, Kim Youngsook, Kim Jeongsik, Na Jin, Park Manseo, Bang Seunghon, Sok Jinhyung, Song Daihwan, Shin Woosun, An Chiyoon, Ahn Taekjoong, Yoo Dongjak, Yoo Munwhan, Yoo Jinmyoung, Yoon Kwangbo, Yoon Honku, Yoon Banghyun, Yoon Sungbo, Yoon Taeyoung, Lee Sinwoo, Lee Wonkuk, Lee Hankil, Chang Do, Chung Kihak, Chung Myongsup, Chung Onjo, Cho Kyoungku, Cho Sewhan, Choi Byoungok, Choi Jin, Hong Jaiki. The information as to the career and the academic achievement of the above individuals is rarely available. Although most of the faculty members at the Institute were Korean nationals as listed above, the faculty also included some Japanese, one American(D.Greathouse), and one French(Laurant Cremazy).

Interestingly, the French Code Civile(1804) was translated into Korean and was taught to the candidates at the Institute. The original textbooks are preserved in the "Treasure Room," on the fourth floor of the School of Law's Research Building.

Among the graduates of the Institute, two of them are to be mentioned in particular: Lee Joon(1859-1907 ), who was a prosecutor and also served as King Kojong's envoy to the Hague Peace Conference in 1907, and Hahm Taeyoung(1873-1964), who served as the vice president of the First Republic of Korea in the 1950s.

  1. 1908

    Judicial Officials Training Institute was restructured as a law school.

  2. 1895

    Chosun Dynasty’s Judicial Officials Training Institute was established, implementing on intensive six-month training program.


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