Patricia Goedde


In this Essay, I first briefly present theoretical contexts that may aid in defining the North Korean legal system. Next, I trace the evolution of the North Korean legal system by examining the North Korean reaction to various legal influences of the Japanese occupation, Soviet tutelage, and traditional Korean practices, and outline the current politico-legal structure. In the final section, I inquire whether the North Korean legal structure can accommodate a different legal system necessitating rule-of-law requirements, as applied to its foreign investment regime and, perhaps some day, nationwide. Although the main purpose of this Essay is to introduce the North Korean legal system to the unacquainted, I posit further that the legal system cannot inherently process rule-of-law syntax, so that any eventual interface will begin to corrode the North Korean legal system as we know it today.