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Small Claims Trials

Cases subject to Small Claims

Small claims cases are cases where 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.

The Characteristics of Small Claims Trials

For the expeditious handling of small claims cases, when a complaint is received, a hearing date will immediately be set and the deliberations will be completed after one hearing and then the judgment will follow straight away. Except, however, when the court decides to recommend performance, it may not set the hearing date but will be serving the transcript of the decision to recommend performance first and when there is an objection thereto, the hearing date will then be set promptly and the trial will proceed.

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

If it is clear to the court that the complaints lack any merit based on its review of the complaint, legal brief, and other litigation records, the court may dismiss the complaint 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.

What is “Decision on Performance Recommendation”?

In small claims cases, decision on performance recommendation means that by the court's decision, the court is recommending the defendant to perform as requested in the complaint and attaches a copy of the complaint or a copy of the statement prior to filing lawsuit. This system is to allow the court to recommend performance at its own discretion in simple small claims cases and if the defendant does not object, then the plaintiff is given the right to enforce without a hearing.

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

Cases involving objection to payment order or mediation,
Cases where the gist of claim or cause of action is unclear, or
Cases where performance recommendation is inappropriate.

In the meantime, a decision on performance recommendation must be accompanied by one duplicate of a complaint, and thus, the Plaintiff must submit duplicates of the complaint as many as the number obtained by adding one(1) to the numbers of plaintiffs and defendants (Article 3-2 of the Rules on Trial of Small Claims) because the original copy of the decision on compliance recommendation, the certified copy to be served on the defendants, and the authentic copy of the decision to be served on the plaintiffs need one duplicate of the complaint respectively.

After the decision on performance recommendation is served on the defendant and finalized, the court (the participating officer, etc.) will serve the original copy to the plaintiff. The defendant may raise an objection within 2 weeks from the date the decision on performance recommendation was served. On the other hand, if the decision on performance recommendation is confirmed, it has the same effect as a final judgment.

In principle, the involuntary enforcement pursuant to decision on performance recommendation may be executed based on the original copy of the decision on performance recommendation and without an enforcement order. However, in cases where a bond is a condition and when there is a need for execution clause, the enforcement order must be obtained from the presiding judge.