Seoul, South Korea – The Seoul Bar Association recently unveiled its annual assessment of judges in South Korea, revealing the highest and lowest ranked judges based on feedback from its members. In this evaluation, 1,402 judges across the country were evaluated by lawyers from the SBA who had encountered them during trials. The association selected 109 judges with the highest scores and identified 20 judges who scored the lowest. A total of 2,341 lawyers participated in the assessment out of the 22,000 members of the association.
Among the judges who received top marks, Gang Gyeong-pyo from the Daejeon High Court stood out by achieving a perfect score of 100. The average score for the high-ranking judges was 95. Notably, Judge Heo Seon-a from the Seoul Family Court received a high score for the third time, demonstrating consistent excellence. Additionally, 12 judges received high scores for the second time.
While the names of the lowest-ranked judges were not disclosed, information about some of their cases was made public. On the extreme end, a judge at the Jeju District Court scored the lowest with a dismal 34.9. This particular judge berated a female defendant, stating, “I saw the records at the application hearing. You are guilty. Why are you insisting otherwise?”
Another judge, working at the Seoul Western District Court, earned a poor score for the seventh time. Complainants described this judge as continuously stating facts already proven by evidence and behaving in an intimidating or sarcastic manner during settlements. In one instance, when an attorney requested the client’s release on bail, the judge responded angrily, stating, “Why are you applying for bail when I have no intention of setting the defendant free?” The judge even dismissed the attorney’s attempts to speak, saying, “I don’t need to hear this.”
Furthermore, another low-ranking judge frequently confused the plaintiff and the defendant. In an incident, the judge announced, “The court is dismissing the request of the plaintiff,” prompting both the defendant and the defendant’s spouse to express gratitude and leave the court. However, they were later called back to be informed that the judge had actually intended to dismiss the appeal by the defendant.
The Seoul Bar Association plans to inform the 20 judges with the lowest scores and the respective court heads about the results of the evaluation. This annual assessment aims to hold judges accountable and shed light on both exemplary and problematic conduct within the judicial system.
In conclusion, the Seoul Bar Association has released its yearly evaluation of judges in South Korea. The assessment showcased exceptional judges who received high scores, such as Gang Gyeong-pyo from the Daejeon High Court, as well as judges who underperformed, with some even facing public criticism for their conduct. By publicly acknowledging both exemplary and problematic judges, the SBA intends to promote transparency and maintain the credibility of the judiciary system in South Korea.