Legal issues can be overwhelming, yet frequent, for expats living in Korea. On foreigner-oriented Facebook groups there are often postings seeking legal advice and there is even a group called Legal Office for Foreign Teachers (LOFT). Foreigners face not only a lack of information when it comes to legal issues, they are also disadvantaged by language barriers.
To alleviate such concerns, the Korean government and a group of lawyers have created a team that offers free legal counseling services to foreigners. Until recently, only Korean citizens could receive free legal counseling. On a trial basis, the Ministry of Justice and Korea Bar Association will be offering their services in 10 areas with a large number of expats in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province.
Free legal counseling centers in Seoul are located in Daerim 2-dong, Itaewon-dong, Gwanghui-dong, Hyewha-dong, Changshin 1-dong. In Gyeonggi Province, services will be offered in Daewon-dong (Osan), Danwon and Seonbu-dong (Ansan), Wonmi-gu (Bucheon), Gwangjeok-myeon (Yangju), and Suwon. The effort is part of the Village Lawyer System originally designed to provide legal assistance to Koreans in remote areas.
To use their services, foreigners can make reservations through Hi Korea at www.hikorea.go.kr or call 1345. Any foreigner currently residing in Korea, regardless of legal status, can use the service which is offered in 20 different languages.