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Litigation Lobbying and Punishment in the Early Joseon Dynasty Based on Cases

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2022, 79(3), pp.79-119
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.79.3.202208.79
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 16, 2022
  • Accepted : August 9, 2022
  • Published : August 31, 2022

Hyojung Han 1

1한국학중앙연구원 비교문화연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the patterns of litigation lobbying in the mid-Joseon Dynasty, and how judges of justice dealt with litigation solicitation charges using real-life data, such as personal diaries and written judgments. Analysis of the distribution of litigation lobby clients appearing in Mukjae Diary (默齋日記) according to status revealed that not only the yangban upper class but also commoners, slaves, and people of low status asked for convenience in litigation and asked for favorable judgments using their connections. The contents of the lobbying included not only the detailed procedure of the lawsuit, but also the direction of the judge’s trial and the content of the judgment. However, Lee Mun-gun (李文楗) and judges showed a cautious attitude toward lawsuits, and demonstrated a tendency not to easily accept lobbying. Meanwhile, there were no separate regulations for the punishment of litigation in the Joseon Dynasty. Litigation lobbying was punished in the name of the result of the solicitation, such as intentional miscalculation, and delay in litigation. However, punishment for litigation lobbying continued to be restricted in terms of the difficulty of proving solicitation and the atrophy of judgment rights. As a result, dispositions by personnel administration were more effective than legal penalties. Regardless of whether it was true or not, litigation lobbying acted as a weakness for bureaucrats, and bureaucrats adopted the method of avoiding litigation with moral responsibility to escape the charges. Since mutual assistance through personal connections was common in pre-modern society, solicitation in the Joseon Dynasty was an essential requirement for life. However, in analyzing cases of litigation lobbying, negative perceptions, sanctions, and avoidance could be observed. In addition, politicians also made efforts to establish a rational legal system to solve the litigation request problem. This illustrates the Joseon Dynasty’s awareness of the issue of litigation and its efforts to solve it.

Citation status

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