Republic of Korea
Damages, Liability

This case concerns physical harm to a plaintiff caused by an aircraft noise. The court first held that the measurement of aircraft noise requires an expert witness with knowledge or experience to give an appraisal and/or multiple surveys that come within a permissible range of error to be credible or have probative value. Secondly, the court stated that if a person has moved into an area polluted by noise or otherwise dangerous and can be regarded as residing with the awareness of the existence of such a danger and acceptance of harm thereof, to the extent that this harm is limited to mental suffering or nuisance to living that do not directly cause impact on a person's life or body and the harming conduct is recognized as possessing a high level of public nature. However, there may be instances where the harming party is exempt from liability such as the level of harm actually sustained after having approached the danger exceeding the level of danger perceived at the time of such approach, or this danger has increased significantly after the approach. In this case, the court decided that unless the harmed party had, upon considering various circumstances such as history and motive of coming to the danger, the harmed party is should be deemed to have known the existence of such danger and nevertheless volunteered to accept the possible damage from the danger, it is appropriate, according to the principle of equity, to consider such a fact as a factor to justify reduction of the amount of damages. Thirdly, the court determined that  "defect in the construction or management of public structure" means that the public structure in question is in the state of lacking safety features which the public structure devoted to public purposes should maintain for their intended use. Lastly, the court found that due to the location of the airfield and its proximately to a residential and urban zone, the court affirmed that harm caused by noise exceeded the tolerable level expected under generally accepted social norms and became unlawful. Thus, the lower court's decision was upheld and the defendant’s appeals were dismissed.


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