Republic of Korea

In this case, the defendants, Yeochun Factory Complex, discharged wastewater from its factory which plaintiffs, Corbicula Plantation Farms, claim polluted the waterway and caused material harm to corbicula farming. This this case, the lower court rejected the plaintiff’s allegations on the grounds that the corbicula plantation farm of this case is not located in an area environmentally proper for corbicula farming; the water quality in the Daepo ocean current area where the farm of this case is located has been severely polluted in both general water quality items and nutrition salt items, and the main culprit of pollution must be incoming rivers; the levels of phenol measured at the farm; the proximity of the factory and flow of water; other likely harmful impacts on corbicula growth; and other sources of pollution. The Supreme Court first held that due to the nature of water pollution, legal actions for pollution damages the tortfeasor or defendant bears the burden of proving harmlessness of materials discharged. Secondly, the court found that there existed a casual connection between the dischargee of wastewater from the defendant's factory and the damage to the  corbicula plantation. Therefore, the defendant has the burden of proving that the wastewater discharged from the Defendants' factories does not contain material causing harm to corbicula farming, or even if material causing harm exists in wastewater, its concentration lies within the safe range, or unless they establish circumstantial counter-evidence that losses suffered by corbicula farming were caused exclusively by entirely different causes. The Supreme court stated that “the facts relied upon by the court below alone are not sufficient to negate its causal connection.” As a result, the case as reversed and remanded back to the lower court.

(Source: Republic of Korea Supreme Court,, last accessed 19/07/2018)