S-Space College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원) The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law Journal of Korean Law Volume 05 Number 1/2 (2005)
Family Law and Inheritance Law in North Korea
- Lee, Eun-Jung
- Issue Date
- BK 21 law
- Journal of Korean Law, Vol.5 No.1, pp. 172-193
- A salient feature of the family law in North Korea is ‘stabilization of the family’. In particular, the family property system is difficult to find in other legal systems. Family members including husband and wife have no share of family property and make use of it for maintenance of a family and the members’ wealth. Family property is not the object of inheritance and may not be disposed of by testate inheritance. Moreover, it is considered that a relationship between step-parents and stepchildren is the same as the relationship between natural parents and their children, which is related with the stabilization of family, The same is true of the support system. All family members have the duty to support for the purpose of stabilizing the family financially. The family law is based on principles such as complete equality for men and women, national protection of motherhood and children, the principle of monogamy and so on. However, under the influence of the traditional family system which adopts Confucianism as an ideal, the limits of the prohibition of marriage are broad in that a marriage between blood relatives within the eighth degree of relationship, or in-law relatives within the fourth degree of relationship shall not be allowed, and it is expressly stipulated that a child shall succeed his or her father’s surname.
In North Korea, inheritance by will is a principle in accordance with the general principles of socialist law. An inheritor shall be appointed in accordance with the will and shares of the inheritance shall be arranged otherwise by a will, which differs from the family law of South Korea. Besides, sons and daughters and parents of a person dying intestate are equal in the first rank, and the inheritance system and the duty of support are interrelated. The State shall preferentially guarantee an interest of a person who is incapable of living for her or himself, and inheritors shall have their shares of inheritance adjusted depending on whether they had supported the testator or not, A person who has lived with and supported the testator shall inherit. In contrast with our system, it is a unique feature that the governmental organ in charge of resident’s affairs and not the court participates in domestic procedure. The organ shall be in charge of acceptance of adoption or the dissolution of the adoptive relationship by agreement, appointment of a guardian where there is disagreement, control of guardian’s conduct, notifying an inheritor of the death of the testator, designation of an executor where there is disagreement, and designation of an administrator of inherited property where there is an absence of inheritors.
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