Data source
Date of text
12 Jan 2012
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
Court name
Supreme Court
Lee In-bok (Presiding Justice)
Kim Nung-hwan
Ahn Dai-hee (Justice in charge)
Min Il-young

In this water pollution case, the defendant operated Sudokwon landfill's leaching water treatment plan which discharged processed leaching water containing harmful contaminants which reached the Plaintiffs' fishery. First, the court determined that the 'social tolerance limit' must consider all circumstances, including the nature and degree of the harm to the invaded right or profit, the tortious act, and the relevant environmental standards. The court found that after the Defendant's discharge, the water quality of the fishery deteriorated, and the ocean ecosystem was destroyed, which resulted in decreased harvest. The court found that even though the concentration of processed leaching water contaminant was below the regulatory limit, this was not sufficient to prove that the "processed leaching water did not or could not cause damage to the fishery." The court found that, according to the appraiser's appraisal, damage to the fishery was very likely to occur because: (1) contaminants in the processed leaching water that the Defendant discharged affected marine organisms; (2) causation between the contaminant discharge and fishery damage was proven; (3) causation was not rebutted by counter-evidence; and (4) the loss suffered exceeded the tolerance limit. Thus, the tortious act was ruled unlawful. As a result, the court reversed and remanded the judgement below.

(Source: Republic of Korea Supreme Court,, last accessed 05/06/2018)