Go to contents

Exclusive Public Defender System Introduced Next Year

Posted December. 05, 2003 23:01,   


Beginning next year, some lawyers will only handle court-appointed cases.

The Supreme Court on Friday convened a meeting of chief justices nationwide in the main chamber of the Supreme Court in downtown Seoul and prepared such a measure to improve the criminal trial system.

The Supreme Court decided to operate a trial public defender system next year which will appoint a number of lawyers among the nominated lawyers that the Korean Bar Association or the Judicial Research & Training Institute will recommend in order to let them serve as exclusively court-appointed lawyers.

The Supreme Court plans to appoint 13 public defenders to let them take complicated cases or cases that the accused pleads innocence. Seven of the public defenders will be designated to the Seoul District Court and one of them will be, respectively, assigned to Incheon, Suwon, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan and Gwangju District Court.

The exclusive public defenders will expectedly take some 5 to 10 percent of the total number of trials that court-appointed lawyers will assume.

In response to the criticism that court-appointed defenders perform much worse than private attorneys, the Supreme Court drew up this plan to utilize exclusively court-appointed lawyers for important trials.

The Supreme Court also deliberated measures to ensure fairness of criminal trials such as appointment of a magistrate judge only among judges with seven or more years of experience in principle and training of new judges.

In addition, the Supreme Court decided to execute the “Trial Offense Weighing Officers System” by appointing judicial workers or deputy judges in the collegial panel of the first trial as offense collation officers to examine and study the fair degree of punishment.

In a bid to reinforce fairness and expertise, the Supreme Court also decided to establish a division of court that exclusively handles the case for the defendant who was once under information but then remitted to a formal trial

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com