In order to spread the risk of environmental pollution accident and to relieve victims quickly and fairly from environmental pollution, ‘Act on Remedy for Environmental Pollution Damage enacted in December 2014, began to enforce from 2016.
This act consists of 49 provisions in 6 chapters in all. The purpose of this law is to relieve victims from environmental pollution damage by clarifying liability for environmental pollution damage and establishing an effective damage relief system by reducing the burden of proof of victims.
Based on this purpose, the Act contains the strict liability of the operator of the facility that emitted pollutants, the presumption of causation, the claim to information, the introduction of liability insurance and government indemnities against environmental damages. However, the most important point of this law is that the operator of the
facility is liable for the damages caused by environmental pollution in connection with installation and operation of the facility. The act sets the maximum amount of compensation to 200-million dollar, and considering the hazard level and the consequent result, it sets the amount of liability to be levied by the facility operator in the attached table 2 in the enforcement ordinance. And also, the act makes it a rule to compensate the damage with money, but exceptionally, it legalized restitution. Thus, it allows the claim for restitution and the recourse for the restitution cost. In addition, it restricts the facility operator from exercising the right to indemnity. These are new legislative attempts that can not be found in Korean laws relevant to strict liability.
The legislation recognize the strict liability for damage from environmental pollution caused from certain facilities, not tort liability is valid. As many new regulations have been enacted, it will be important to properly operate. In addition, legislative content will be assessed accurately during such operations.