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Research Report

The 2023 Consciousness Survey on Laws
  • Issue Date 2023-12-31
  • Page 420
  • Price
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Ⅰ. Background and Purpose
▶ Background and purpose of the survey
○ Background of the survey
- Need to address abstractness of public legal consciousness
- Statistical data as basic data representing public legal consciousness is needed
- Time series analysis for public legal consciousness is needed
○ Purpose of the survey
- Development of indicators that can represent public legal
- Creation of basic statistical data that can be used as a reference for national policy development
-Raising the general public’s compliance awareness and realizing ‘advanced rule of law’
▶ Survey history
○ History of the 6th survey
-1991:The first legal consciousness survey by a national research   institute (2,000 persons)
-1994:Conducted to understand the status of the rule of law (1,200 persons)
-2008:Understanding the status of changes in legal consciousness following social changes (3,000 persons)  
-2015:Introduction of legal consciousness indicators/indices and establishment of directions for improving the national legal system by factor/item (3,441 persons)
-2019:Statistics of public legal consciousness survey approved by     Statistics Korea (3,400 persons) 
-2021:Obtain time series Statistics of public legal consciousness survey approved by Statistics Korea (3,400 persons)
○ Approved statistics
- Since the first legal consciousness survey in 1991, a total of five public legal consciousness surveys have been conducted. After the needs for 1) regularization, 2) objectification, 3) internationalization, and 4) designing survey tables that can be cross-analyzed with legal consciousness surveys of legal experts were reflected and the survey was selected as a national statistical development project of Statistics Korea, the production of statistics was approved on August 8, 2019.
Ⅱ. Main Contents
▶ Survey design
○ Survey period and frequency
- Survey period:  July to August 2023
- Survey base time: January 1, 2023, 12 am
- Survey frequency: 2 years
○ Population and sampling frame
- Survey targets: 3,400 households residing in 17 cities and provinces in South Korea
- Target population: All citizens over the age of 19 residing in 17 cities and provinces in South Korea
- Survey population: Household members over the age of 19 residing in the household during the survey period
○ Sample design
- After stratification according to administrative districts, the districts under the Population and Housing Census are stratified again into general survey districts and apartment survey districts
▶ Survey implementation
○ Survey method
- An ‘interview type survey’ in which a professional surveyor visits a household and conducts a survey using a tablet PC (TAPI)
○ Survey period 
- The survey was conducted from July 19 to August 31, 2023
▶ 2023 legal consciousness survey items
○ Main survey topics
- Legal consciousness and sentiment, legal compliance, accessibility, law and social justice, law-related education, law and life, and eight legal consciousness indicators
○ Legal consciousness indicators
- Divided into four topics: awareness of basic rights, awareness of the executive branch, awareness of the legislative branch, awareness of the judicial branch
▶ 2023 public legal consciousness survey results: Survey results by topic
○ Legal consciousness
- Regarding the law, 36.5% of the respondents answered ‘not aware,’ and regarding legal terms and sentences, about 5 in 10 respondents answered ‘difficult to understand’.
-Compared with the survey results in 2021, the proportion of respondents who are not aware of the law or do not understand legal terms and sentences slightly decreased.
- The most important criterion for value judgment was ‘law’ at 47.1%, followed by ‘moral/norm’ (31.3%) and ‘custom/tradition’ (16.9%).
○ Legal sentiment
- Regarding the legitimacy of the law: ‘law guarantees safety and order’ was the highest at 72.1% followed by ‘Law has authority’ (71.7%), ‘law guarantees human dignity’ (69.1%). The response ‘Law is just’ (58.4%) was relatively low.
- Regarding law enforcement practices: ‘laws resolve disputes’ was the highest at 65.2%, followed by ‘laws represent the interests of powerful people’ (64.4%), ‘Laws represent the interests of the people’ (56.5%). ‘laws are enforced fairly’ (52.9%) was relatively low.
- The images that come to mind when hearing the word ‘law’ included ‘order/safety’ (60.7%), ‘authority/power’ (56.7%), ‘justice’ (48.5%), and ‘equality/fairness’ (31.7%).
○ Legal compliance
-The compliance level of the respondents: More than 7 in 10 respondents answered that they ‘abide by the law’.
- The rule of law in our society: More than 7 in 10 agreed that the rule of law is upheld.
- Reason for not realizing the rule of law: ‘insufficient legal compliance of social leaders’ (40.6%).
- The compliance level of members of society: 8 in 10 respondents answered that they ‘abide by the law’ (respondents themselves < member of society).
- The positive response regarding the realization of the rule of law in our society was higher in the group (78.1%) who thought that members of society including themselves ‘abide by the law’ than the group who did not (50.9%).
- ‘One must obey the law’ under any circumstances: 58% or more on average.
- Even if the law is not properly made or contrary to morals, ethics, or conscience, ‘one must obey the law’: relatively low.
○ Access to law
- Legal information sources: ‘TV/radio’ (78.9%), ‘portal site’ (67.8%), ‘people around me’ (40.1%), and ‘newspaper/magazine’ (29.5%) were among the most common responses. ‘Government publicity materials’ (20.0%) and ‘SNS’ (19.5%) were relatively low.
- Compared with the survey results in 2032: The influence of all media (‘TV/radio’ + ‘newspaper/magazine’) decreased; the use of the Internet such as ‘portal sites’ increased; access via ‘online law/judgment search system’ and ‘social media’ to law-related information increased.
- Legal advice for litigation: ‘lawyer’ 73.7%, ‘Internet’ (61.3%), ‘people around me’ (55.1%) etc. (The respondents with higher education used the Internet and lawyers more).
○ Law and social justice
- Regarding the nature of legal justice: Slightly more respondents viewed legal justice as the adjustment of unequal outcomes rather than equal opportunities (more than average).
- Highly discriminated groups: ‘Discrimination against people with disabilities’ (58.0%), ‘discrimination against sexual minorities’ (52.7%), ‘discrimination against foreign residents in Korea’ (48.6%), ‘discrimination against women’ (46.8%), were among the most common responses (32.1% said ‘discrimination against men’).
- The need for laws against discrimination: ‘laws to support persons with disabilities’ (52.2%), ‘laws in favor of gender equality’ (49.6%), ‘laws for equal treatment of foreign residents in Korea’ (40.7%) were among the most common responses.
○ Legal education
- People with law-related school education experience: 51.7% of the respondents said ‘have experienced’.
- Legal knowledge learned through education is sufficient for daily life: 22.1% of those who experienced related education.
- The necessity of practical legal education in schools: More than 6 in 10 respondents answered ‘necessary’ (68.%).
○ Law and life
- What is necessary to prevent crime-related incidents and accidents: ‘protection of reporters or whistleblowers’ (54.2%), ‘crime victims’ reporting consciousness’ (52.3%), ‘citizen’s crime-reporting consciousness’ (51.3%), etc.
- Current level of punishment related to crimes: Most respondents perceived that ‘the punishment level is weak’ (especially for ‘children and juvenile crimes’).
- Areas of interest among law-related news or information: ‘consumer’s legal rights’ (67.4%), ‘workers’ legal rights’ (56.8%), ‘enforcement of legal violations’ (52.8%), etc. 
○ Trial-related experience and evaluation
- Trial-related experience: ‘have experienced’ (7.0%).
- Factors influencing the trial: ‘senior officials in judicial and executive branches/court’ (74.6%), ‘National Assembly and lawmakers’ (70.3%), ‘President/administration’(66.0%), ‘companies (financial power)’ (43.3%), etc.
▶ 2023 public legal consciousness survey results: Rule of law index
○ Awareness of basic rights, awareness of the judicial branch: High
- According to the 2023 public legal consciousness survey, the rule of law awareness index was 57.51 out of 100 points. As for the four awareness indices by factor, ‘awareness of basic rights’ was the highest with 65.23 points, followed by ‘awareness of the judicial branch’ (60.17 points), ‘awareness of the executive branch’ (55.03 points), and ‘awareness of the legislative branch’ (49.59 points).
○ Increased awareness of the rule of law
- The rule of law awareness index in 2023 (57.51 points) was 1.67 points higher than in 2021 (55.84 points), and all of the awareness indices by factor were higher than in 2021.
Ⅲ. Expected effects
▶ Academic effect
○ To identify the public’s awareness of the law and the function of the law in Korea by examining the changes in Koreans’ legal consciousness.
○ To provide basic data for accurate understanding of the public’s awareness of the rule of law by strengthening the basis for time-series analysis of public legal consciousness survey results.
▶ Contribution to policy
○ Objective data showing how the recent rapid socio-economic and legal changes have affected public consciousness of the law can be used to suggest legislative policy directions and tasks in line with the changing times.