Republic of Korea

Constitution of the Republic of Korea

Year of Version:1988
Date of Last Amendment:February 25, 1988
Date of Entry into Force:July 17, 1948
Date of Text (Adopted):July 17, 1948
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
The Constitution of the Republic of Korea was adopted on July 17, 1948. It has been amended 9 times and revised 5 times, most recently in 1987. The reformed Constitution of 1987 was approved on October 29, 1987 and entered into force on February 26, 1988, making it the Constitution of the Sixth Republic.

The 1987 Constitution consists of a preamble, 130 articles, and six supplementary provisions. It is divided into ten chapters: Chapter I, General Provisions (Articles 1 - 9); Chapter II, Rights and Duties of Citizens (Articles 10 - 39); Chapter III, the National Assembly (Articles 40 – 65); Chapter IV, the Executive (Articles 66 – 100); Chapter V, the Courts (Articles 101 – 110); Chapter VI, the Constitutional Court (Articles 111 – 113); Chapter VII, Election Management (Articles 114 – 116); Chapter VIII, Local Autonomy (Articles 117 – 118); Chapter IX, the Economy (Articles 119 – 127); and Chapter X, Constitutional Amendments (Articles 128 – 130).

The 1987 Constitution stipulates a separation of powers among the three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.
The legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly, which is a unicameral legislature composed of at least 200 members directly elected by the people for a four-year term of office (Articles 40, 41(1) & (2), and 42).
The executive power is vested in the executive branch, headed by the President who is elected by direct popular vote for a singular five-year term (Articles 66 (4), 67(1), and 70). The President is the head of State and has the power to appoint the Prime Minister with the consent of the National Assembly (Articles 86(1)). The President may issue presidential decrees concerning matters delegated to him with the scope specifically defined and also matters to enforce law (Article 75).
The judicial power is vested in courts composed of the Supreme Court, and other courts at specified levels (Articles 101(1) and (2)). The Constitution also provides for a Constitutional Court, a specialized court which has jurisdiction over constitutional issues such as the constitutionality of a law, impeachment, dissolution of a political party, competence disputes between state agencies, between State agencies and local governments, and between local governments, and Constitutional complaints (Article 111).

The Republic of Korea belongs to a civil law system.
The sources of law in the Republic of Korea are:
• Constitution
• International Treaties
• Statutes passed by the National Assembly
• Presidential Enforcement Decrees
• Ordinances, rules and regulations issued by the Prime Minister, the ministries and government agencies
• Decisions, statutes, regulations and decrees of Supreme Court and Constitutional Court

The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of Korea contains provisions relating to intellectual property. Article 22(2) protects the rights of authors, inventors, scientists, engineers, and artists. Article 9 provides for the protection and development of traditional cultural heritage of the State. In addition, Article 23 guarantees to all citizens the right of property.
Available Texts: 

Constitution of the Republic of Korea Constitution of the Republic of Korea, Complete document (pdf) [236 KB] Constitution of the Republic of Korea, Complete document (htm) [128 KB] (Version with Automatic Translation Tool)


대한민국헌법 대한민국헌법, Complete document (pdf) [222 KB]

WIPO Lex No.:KR061