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Young Joon KWON (Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea)

Justice Young Joon KWON commenced his judicial career as a judge in April 1999 at the Seoul District Court and later served in various roles, including the Eastern Branch Court of Seoul District Court, Daegu District Court, and the National Court Administration's Planning and Coordination Office. In 2006, he began teaching civil law at Seoul National University College of Law, accumulating over 17 years of teaching experience, dedicated to nurturing future scholars and legal professionals. In July 2023, he was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea.
Justice Kwon has conducted extensive scholarly research across diverse legal fields from civil law, and intellectual property law to international trade law. Furthermore, he has actively applied legal theory to practical matters by participating in legislative processes as the Chairman of the Advisory Council on Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Justice and as a member of the Presidential Council on Intellectual Property. He has authored over 30 books and 80 academic papers such as "Copyright Infringement Judgement Theory," and "Basic Principles of Civil Law Jurisprudence," which were recognized as outstanding academic books by the National Academy of Science of the Republic of Korea. His contributions have also earned him various research and education-related awards, including the Juridical Paper Award from the Korean Society of Law in 2009 for "Theory, Legal Principles, and Practice in Civil Trials."
While emphasizing the thoughts behind the law, the principles of law, and the legal concepts, Justice Kwon has explored spheres of legal education and legal practice based on theory and in connection with judicial decision-making.

The Dynamic Nature of Legal Interpretation and the Role of the Judiciary
Young Joon Kwon
The rule of law manifests itself within the context of specific cases. Legal interpretation serves as the nexus where abstract legal principles intersect with the realities of human existence, often represented in the form of legal cases. Legal interpretation elucidates the meaning of law within such contexts. Thus, legal interpretation serves as the conduit through which law and society engage in dialogue and work together to achieve social justice in a real-life setting.

While legal interpretation may be undertaken by various actors including administrative agencies and lay citizens, it is the judiciary that holds ultimate authority in this realm. Judges wield significant influence in imbuing the law with practical efficacy by applying it to real-life scenarios. As aptly phrased by Hermann Kantrowitz, the advancement of law fundamentally hinges upon the caliber of judges. Particularly in challenging or ‘hard’ cases, legal interpretation plays a greater role. Sound legal interpretation is indispensable for the preservation and evolution of the rule of law. The judiciary plays a meaningful role therein.

To the judiciary, legal interpretation is inherently dynamic. Legal interpretation is influenced by both the statutory provisions at issue and the specific contents of the case. These factors are perpetually evolving, with the case's facts exerting a substantial impact on legal interpretation. While monism may present an attractive theoretical framework, its practical applicability is constrained by the diverse and multifaceted nature of legal reality faced by the judiciary.

Given this dynamism, it is imperative to develop nuanced and tailored interpretive standards based on the type of the statutory provisions subject to interpretation as well as the type of cases being adjudicated. For instance, the discourse on whether text or purpose holds greater interpretive significance cannot be fully answered without considering specificity of the type of the statutes and the cases. Interpretation approaches may differ between criminal law and civil law, or substantive law and procedural law. They may also differ between a new law where you can easily find clear and detailed legislative histories, and a law rooted in archaic history where legislative intention cannot be easily revealed. To the judiciary, importance of context-sensitive interpretation cannot be sufficiently underscored.