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Small claims cases

Cases subject to small claims

Small claims cases are cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed 20 million won and the intended claim is payment of money, other replacement goods or certain quantity of securities.

The characteristics of small claims trials

For the expeditious handing of small claims matters, when the complaint is filed, a hearing date is immediately set and deliberations are completed after one hearing, with the decision to follow immediately. Except, however, when the court recommends the defendant to execute performance, it may not set the hearing date but first serve the transcript of the decision to recommend performance and only if there are any objections thereto, the hearing date is set immediately and the trial proceeds.

The spouse, lineal relations and siblings of the party may serve as litigation agents even without the leave of the court. In this case, family relationship certificate or resident registration transcript that can prove the family relationship or a power of attorney that can prove the grant of authorization must be submitted.

If it is clear to the court that the complaints lacks any merit based on its review of the complaint, legal brief, and other litigation records, the court may dismiss the complaint even without a hearing. The witness is questioned by the judge and if deemed appropriate, a statement of testimony may be submitted in lieu of the examination of the witness or evaluator. The verdict may be announced immediately after the close of the hearings, and the decision need not state any reasons therefor.

On “recommendation for performance decision”

In small claims cases, decision to recommendation performance means the decision by the court to recommend the defendant to perform as requested in the complaint by attaching a copy of the complaint or a copy of the statement prior to filing lawsuit. That is to say, in simple small claims matters, the court recommends performance at its own discretion and if the defendant does not object, then the plaintiff is given the right to enforce even without any hearing.

Also, when the recommendation to perform is confirmed, the special provision of involuntary enforcement rules provides that involuntary enforcement is possible with the decision on recommendation to perform without a separate enforcement order. However, in the following circumstance, the court may not issue recommendation to perform:

  1. 1. Case involving objection to payment order or objection to mediation
  2. 2. When the claim sought or basis of remedy is unclear
  3. 3. Other cases when it is not appropriate to issue recommendation to perform

When the recommendation to perform is served on the defendant and confirmed, the court serves a original copy to the plaintiff. The defendant may raise an objection within 2 weeks from the date the recommendation to perform has been received. On the other hand, if the recommendation to perform is confirmed, it has the same effect as the final judgment.

Involuntary enforcement pursuant to recommendation for performance in principle may be done based on the true copy of the recommendation for performance without the enforcement order. Provided, however, in case of debt with conditions and when there is a need for enforcement for assumption, the enforcement order must be obtained based on the presiding judge’s order.

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