The Supreme Court says it cannot recognize inheritance rights of North Koreans if they do not make relevant requests within the specified period of time.
The court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling against a North Korean defector, surnamed Lee, who filed a suit against an uncle and other relatives in South Korea to recover inheritance.
The court said the period of application regarding inheritance rights should be applied equally to North Koreans, North Korean defectors and South Koreans.
According to South Korean Civil Law, South Koreans can claim their inheritance within three years from the day they find out their right was violated. However, they cannot make a request to recover the right ten years after the fact.
The court judged that there is a need to protect North Koreans' inheritance rights in light of the complexities of the division on the peninsula, but added that recognizing their inheritance rights after the expiration of the legally specified time could severely undermine the legal system.