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Chief Justice Jo Hee-de was born in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, on June 6, 1957. He studied law at the Seoul National University College of Law and graduated in 1979. After passing the 23rd National Judicial Examination in 1981, he was appointed to his judgeship in September 1986.
Chief Justice Jo began his judicial career at the Seoul Criminal District Court. Throughout the years, he held a number of positions within the judiciary, including as a judicial research judge at the Supreme Court, a professor at the Judicial Research and Training Institute, and a presiding judge at the Seoul High Court. Thereafter, he also served as the Chief Judge of the Daegu District Court, the Chief Judge of the Daegu Family Court, and a Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea. He was formerly a Distinguished Professor at Sungkyunkwan University School of Law. After being nominated, he was inaugurated as the 17th Chief Justice of the Republic of Korea and assumed office on December 11, 2023.
For over 33 years, Chief Justice Jo has presided over a wide range of cases at different levels of the court system as well as the Supreme Court. At the bench, he has been committed to conducting impartial and fair trials to keep the spirit of the Constitution faithfully. He firmly holds that judges’ responsibility is to uphold the law for citizens to live safely and securely. It is under this belief that Chief Justice Jo has strived to safeguard the legitimate rights of the socially underprivileged and minorities.
He has authored numerous papers and essays, including “Is Gender Reassignment between Men and Women Permitted under Current Law?” and “Infringement of Trade Secrets and Compensation for Damages,” as well as the essay collection Harmonious Coexistence Among All (originally titled Man-In-Sang-Saeng).
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