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Korean Law A-Z

Korean Law-related Resources by Topic or Type

Citation and Romanization

For a non-roman script language like Korean, correct citation of laws, articles, and cases in English language publications depends on a combination of standards for legal citation (in Korea and in the U.S.), U.S. standards for transcription of foreign language materials, and the transcription of Korean, specifically.

Legal Citation

  • The Bluebook: a uniform system of citation. 20th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law Review Association, 2015.
    Section T2.37 South Korea. Provides standards for citation formatting, with examples.
    KF245 .U5 2010 at Reference Area
  • 論文 作成 및 文獻 引用 에 관한 標準 [Nonmun chaksŏng mit munhŏn inyong e kwanhan p'yojun]. [Seoul?]: 韓國法學教授會, 2000.
    This publication, prepared by the Association of Korean Law Professors, sets forth standards for citations of Korean and foreign language publications for publications issued in Korea.
    KPA471.L44 N66 2000  at REF (Reference), CLAS (Classified Stacks
Notes about Romanization (Transliteration) of Korean

Records for Korean material in the library's online catalog include original Korean scripts, and it is possible to search the catalog using han'gul or Chinese characters (hancha). However, often good results are obtained by searching in romanized Korean: Korean words transliterated into the Roman alphabet. For successful searching using romanized Korean, searchers need to know how title, author, and other data about Korean books is transliterated in the library catalog. The Gallagher Law Library and University of Washington catalogs use a standard established by the North American library community which is based on the McCune-Reischauer System, as modified by the U.S. Library of Congress: Korean Romanization and Word Division (PDF, 2009 edition). Note that this is different from the revised romanization scheme adopted by the Korean government in 2000 (see:  "Romanization of Korean" by the National Institute of the Korean Language in Korea). The McCune-Reischauer system is based on the pronunciation of Korean, not strictly on the han'gŭl spelling.

Notice particularly the two different romanizations below of the han'gŭl syllable 법 | 法, meaning "law"  which, depending on context, could be romanized as pŏp, bŏp, bŏb, or pŏb:

Hancha Han'gul McCune-Reischauer
韓國海運學會誌 한국해운학회지 Han'guk Haeun Hakhoe chi
總則 민법총칙 Minpŏp ch'ongch'ik
大法院 Taebŏbwŏn

Comparative romanization tables are found in many Korean dictionaries, and some information may be found on websites such as those below. Help is also available in the East Asian Law Department.

Online Korean romanization guides and information
Searching Tips
  • Diacritics such as the "breve" (as in: ŏ) and apostrophes (as in: ch'ongch'ik) should not be input for online catalog searches, as search software in the library catalog is set up to ignore them.
  • Romanization used in other indexes and catalogs (and sometimes the Library catalog) is not always consistent. In some cases, romanization schemes are inconsistently applied within one index or catalog. So when searching for romanized Korean text, it is a good practice to use the browse function if it is available, and/or try different romanization and word division possibilities.