There are many lawyers in Korea who speak English. But before spending money or shopping around, you may want to check out the free services provided various agencies.Most lawyers provide free 30 minute consultations. Note that some labour ‘lawyers’ are, in fact, not actual lawyers, but rather advocates who can present on behalf of a complainant before the Korean Labor Board.
Free multilingual services: Beginning October 2015, foreign nationals around Korea can receive free legal counseling regarding disputes on domestic, civic, criminal and labor issues, in 20 different languages including: Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Filipino, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Mongolian, Nepali, Russian, Sinhal, Spanish, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese.
This service applies to civic, criminal, domestic and labour issues only. Advice received through the consultation is not legally binding and variations in facts can change a legal outcome.
This is an extension of Korea’s Village Lawyer/Attorney System (Maeul Byeonhosa) introduced in 2013 to provide counseling services for people with disputes living in counties and villages where there are no legal offices. Seven lawyers have been assigned to 10 districts in Seoul as well as to other metropolitan areas where a large number of foreigners reside.
The Seoul districts include:
Daerim 2-dong in Yeongdeungpo-gu;
Gwanghui-dong in Jung-gu;
Hyehwa-dong and Changsin 1-dong in Jongno-gu
Regions around Korea include:
Daewon-dong in Osan;
Danwon Seonbu 2-dong in Ansan;
Gwangjeok-myeon in Yangju;
Suwon in Gyeonggi Province
Reservations: Foreign nationals, who want to use this free legal services, can make reservations through Hi Korea (www.hikorea.go.kr) or by calling 1345 between 9AM and 6PM . They can then set a date/time for the consultation. An foreigners can set a date for legal consultation with lawyers available for the district and then an interpreter will assist via a consultation conference call. Any foreig national residing in Korea, regardless of their legal status, is eligible to use the service.
Other Legal Help Options:
Seoul Bar Association
Legal Counselling (in Korean – generally one-off time limited pro-bono legal consultation)
Hours: Daily from 10AM to 12PM and 2PM to 5PM
Lawyers Education Culture Center
Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) services
Ministry of Labor Hotline: Call 1350 Ext 5 for English, between 9AM and 6PM ( / Outside Korea+82-52-702-5089 Ext 5))
Labor Law Counselling: Phone counseling service is available Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 18:00.
For foreign Workers: 031-345-5000
For Foreign CEO’s: 031-345-5200
Seoul Global Center and Global Village Centers
Some lawyers and/or labour experts (not lawyers/attorneys) come to the Seoul Global Center and to some of the Global Village Centers. The arrangement between the centers and a select number of legal experts has changed and in many cases they no longer have set days/hours when they are present. See here for links to SGC and the Global Village Centers.
Free legal consultation every Tuesday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Itaewon Global Village Center. Appointments required. To make an appointment, submit the application form and any other required documents by 3PM of the Friday before the consultation day. Download the form from the IGVC website. Click on “News & Notices” then on “Center Related Forms”. Walk-ins not accepted. Tel: 02-2199-8883. Info: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Professional Consultation at Seoul Global Center between 2-5PM Weekdays. Advance reservations required via 02-2075-4180 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Consultation is often provided in Korean with translation available for Chinese, Filipino, English, Japanese, Mongolian, Russian,Thai, Uzbekistan, Vietnamese. Consultations cover General Law (lawsuit and judgement, civil/criminal, family law, etc.); Labor Law (industrial disaster, unpaid salary, severance pay, unfair dismissal, etc) and Real Estate (purchase and slae, rental and leasing, dispute, etc.). SGC address: 5F, 38, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The consultation is free but is for a limited time and does not include legal representation or in-depth information on the issue).
The Korean Law Blog
Provides general information in English on a variety of current issues and legal questions. The blog was created by an American lawyer who is a long-time foreign resident of Seoul.
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