Republic of Korea
Audits, Constitutional

This case dealt with the question whether frequent environmental audits conducted by an administrative authority restricted the freedom of business of the company concerned in an excessive way. The complainant was a corporation manufacturing and selling construction materials by recycling industrial waste. The supervising authorities of the complainant conducted an environmental audit over the complainant for a period of approximately two years, in fifty-five occasions, through which no violation of law was revealed. The complainant filed a constitutional complaint on the ground that conducting the audit at issue was unconstitutional as it violated the complainant’s freedom of business. The court emphasized that the Wastes Control Act provided that the administration could initiate and conduct audits. It generally placed no restrictions upon the frequency, time, and method of audit. As the result, there was a room for infringement upon the freedom of business of citizens through excessive audits. However, the legislative purpose of the above provision of law was to achieve the public interest of preservation of the environment by supervising the appropriate treatment of waste products, so its legislative purpose was legitimate. The audits in this case directly restricted business activities of the complainant. However, such restraint did not reach the level unbearable by the complainant. Rather, the complainant was legally obligated to respond to the audits conducted for the sake of the important public interest of preservation of the environment, and the harm caused by the audits was an inevitable burden that the complainant should bear.