This case concerns whether the consideration of environmental standards, under the Framework Act on Environmental Policy, should be given priority over housing construction standards, under Housing Act, in determining whether the infringement caused by noise coming from road traffic exceeds the tolerable level under generally accepted social norms or “quality of life” for the residents living nearby the apartment complex at issue. Secondly, this case discusses the issue of whether residents experiencing infringement of their quality of life from road traffic noise exceeding a tolerable level can seek compensation for tort liability for noise against the seller of apartment lots at issue, and the circumstances where the seller bears liability to the buyer in relation to such noise. The Court held that environmental standards in this case take priority, and therefore the Framework Act on Environmental Policy should be the guiding standard on whether the infringement caused by noise coming from road traffic exceeds a tolerable level to the residents. However the court also held that residents experiencing infringement of their quality of life cannot seek compensation for tort liability. Although the infringement from the noise coming from road traffic exceeds a tolerable level for the nearby residents' quality of life, such residents cannot sue the seller for tort liability based on the infringement caused by noise since the seller, who constructed and sold such apartment, neither constructed nor managed the road and it cannot be deemed that the construction of the apartment caused such noise. The Court did point out that the seller may be liable if the seller has warranty liability, if there is a special agreement between the seller and buyer relating to facilities or measures protecting against noise, or if the seller neglects incidental duties under the principle of good faith, including that it concealed information or provided inaccurate information about the noise in the apartments.
(Source: Republic of Korea Supreme Court, http://eng.scourt.go.kr/eng/main/Main.work, last accessed 19/07/2018)