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Law and Custom in Korea: Comparative Legal History

From the publisher’s website:

This book sets forth the evolution of Korea’s law and legal system from the Chosǒn dynasty through the colonial and postcolonial modern periods. This is the first book in English that comprehensively studies Korean legal history in comparison with European legal history, with particular emphasis on customary law. Korea’s passage to Romano-German civil law under Japanese rule marked a drastic departure from its indigenous legal tradition. The transplantation of modern civil law in Korea was facilitated by Japanese colonial jurists who created a Korean customary law; this constructed customary law served as an intermediary regime between tradition and the demands of modern law. The transformation of Korean law by the forces of Westernisation points to new interpretations of colonial history and presents an intriguing case for investigating the spread of law on a global level. In-depth discussions of French customary law and Japanese legal history also provide a solid conceptual framework suitable for comparing European and East Asian legal traditions.


  1. Comparative reflections on the concepts of law and custom
  2. Law and legal culture under the Chosǒn Dynasty
  3. Custom and legal reception: the Japanese precedent
  4. Legal reforms in protectorate Korea, 1905–10
  5. Colonial law and the legal system, 1910–45
  6. Colonial jurisprudence and the construction of Korean customary law
  7. The ‘Japanese deviation’: comparison of colonial customary law policies
  8. Customary law in modern Korea
  9. Conclusion: Korean law and custom in comparative perspective.

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.