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Trials - Appearance

There are two types of agents for litigation purposes: (1) a legal litigation agent, who becomes the agent in litigation involuntarily; and (2) a discretionary litigation agent who becomes the agent in litigation voluntarily.

Agent by Law


A minor under guardianship lacks the capacity to participate in a lawsuit as a proper party, for example, as the plaintiff or the defendant. In some cases, an adult under limited guardianship may not act as a proper party in litigation. In these circumstances, an agent by law may act for the party. The followings are those who may be authorized as agents by law:

For minor: individuals with parental authority, or if there are no individuals with parental authority, guardians
For a person under adult guardianship: the adult guardian of the person
For a person under limited guardianship; the limited guardian of the person
To act as a legal litigation agent, he/she must submit documents proving such person’s identity, i.e., certificate of familial relationship or transcript of resident registration.
Scope of authorities
of agent by law

The scope of agency of the legal litigation agent is as follows:

a person with parental authority: may engage in all litigations conduct.
Guardians: In principal, consent of the supervisor of guardianship is required. Consent of the supervisor of guardianship is not required when the party in question engages in responsive litigation conduct as regards filing of answer against complaint or appeal by another party, however, special authority from the supervisor of guardianship is required to do certain conducts as such withdrawal of complaint (including withdrawal of appeal), settlement, waiver of claim, assumption of risk, withdrawal from lawsuit, and others.

Discretionary Agent by law

Qualifications The qualifications of agent by law are varied depending on whether the case is handled by a panel of three judges or a single-judge, or a small claims case. In all cases, the agent must have the capacity to carry on the lawsuit and must prove its agency through documentation. Specific details for each case are as follows:
Scope of authorities
of agent by law

The scope of agency deals with to what extent the litigation agent can act on behalf of the party’s behalf.

In general: Agents can engage in all litigation conducts.
Exceptions: In cases of filing of a counterclaim, withdrawing complaints, settling a suit, waiving a claim, recognition and acceptance of claim, withdrawing from the lawsuit, filing or withdrawing appeal, and appointing a sub-agent, special consent from the party is required.
Cases decided by
a panel of judges
The panel of three judges hears cases where the amount in controversy exceeds 500 million KRW (200 million KRW for cases filed before March 1, 2022)
Only lawyers, managers, and persons who perform a state litigation on behalf of the State may act as litigation agents.
Cases decided by
a single judge

In cases decided by a single judge, with the consent from the court, even non-lawyers may become litigation agent. The eligible agents are limited only to family members who have close relationship with the party or someone who was hired by the party to execute day-to-day matters relating to the case. To be permitted by the court, the individual must meet one of the followings:

An individual who is the party’s spouse or a relative (cousin or closer) who is deemed adequate in respect to the relationship with the party.
An individual who has executed an employment or other comparable contract with the party and conducts and supports day-to-day business of such case, and deemed adequate in light of such person’s work and the nature of the case.

· In order to be permitted as a litigation agent by the court, a power of attorney entrusting the agent with the lawsuit as well as application for consent for litigation agency must be submitted in advance. When not permitted by the court, the party may deemed to have failed to make an appearance.

Litigation agent
in small claims cases

Small claims cases are trials of first instance in which the amount in controversy does not exceed 30 million KRW and the objective is payment of money, other replacement goods or certain quantity of securities.

In small claims cases, the party’s spouse, a lineal relation and siblings may become litigation agents even without the court’s permission. In this case, to 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.
Aside from what is mentioned in the foregoing, if there is a special relationship, such as family relationship or employment relationship, such individuals may become litigation agents upon the court’s permission.