Herbert Smith Freehills and Big Six law firm Yoon & Yang have represented the South Korean government in the first-ever arbitration claim under the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA).

The tribunal ruled in favour of South Korea in the claim, initiated by a US investor in connection with land redevelopment. However, local Korean newspaper The Hankoryeh said that no determination had yet been made on whether the South Korean expropriation system was in violation of the KORUS FTA.

The claim was brought by Korea-born U.S. citizen Jin Hae-seo, who argued that the government had violated the terms of the agreement through the compulsory purchase of her Seoul property for redevelopment, media reported A three-arbitrator tribunal sided with the Korean government, and dismissed Seo’s claims, stating that she was unable to show that she made an investment within the meaning of the KORUS FTA.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by Seoul head of disputes Mike McClure, and executive partner Justin D’Agostino. The Yoon & Yang team was advised by Junsang Lee, Sungbum Lee, Jeongju Jahng and Myung-Ahn Kim.


To contact the editorial team, please email ALBEditor@thomsonreuters.com.