Washington International Law Journal


Jihye Kim


Major urban redevelopment projects are currently on-going to beautify the urban landscape in Seoul, which is the most densely populated metropolitan area of South Korea. In this process, massive acquisition of homes has taken place, displacing many residents who are now demanding relocation assistance. South Korean law imposes obligations upon developers to provide relocation assistance for displaced residents. However, vagueness in the statutory language causes not only confusion in the implementation of the law, but has also led to a Supreme Court decision denying displaced residents’ legal right to relocation assistance. This interpretation further expanded developer’s discretion in carrying out their statutory duty to provide relocation assistance. As a result, the current law fails to protect displaced residents from the exploitations of developers, who are often private, for-profit corporations. This Comment argues that South Korea should amend the Relocation Assistance Statute in order to ensure displaced residents’ right to housing, which derives from the Korean Constitution and international law, so that they can secure adequate and fair relocation assistance.

First Page