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5 J. Korean L. 172 (2005-2006)
Family Law and Inheritance Law in North Korea

handle is hein.journals/jkorl5 and id is 188 raw text is: Family Law and Inheritance Law in North Korea
Eun-Jung Lee*
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.
* Professor, College of Law, KyungPook National University

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