The Concept of Public Interest Demonstrated in Korean Court Precedents

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Heo, Seong Wook
Issue Date
BK 21 law
Journal of Korean Law, Vol.6 No.1, pp. 91-109
public interestpublic lawadministrative lawdelegationseparation of powersKorean court precedentscollective decision
The concept of public interest is functioning as a topos in Korean public law discussions.

However, no established definition of the term is presented in any books or papers on administrative

law. An attempt to define a concrete and specified concept of public interest may turn out to be in vain because of the incommensurability of its value. In such case, the best way to get closer to the substance of the concept will be to search for the many and diverse ways the term public interest is used in real court precedents. This is because the court rulings are the result of many efforts to reach the best

balancing point of conflicting interests. In Korean court precedents, many diverse explanations on public interest have been presented. For instance, the public interest has been illustrated as the interest of many and unspecified persons, general social welfare, environmental interest, the well functioning of state run organizations, interests related to traffic and transportation, interest related to education, the moral interest of our society, and interests related to basic human rights.
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College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원)The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean LawJournal of Korean Law Volume 06 Number 1/2 (2006)
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