The petitioners requested the constitutional review of Civil Code provisions which establish the traditional "house head system" (Ho-jue jae-do) which holds that a household is formed around the male, and passes down only through direct male descendants serving as successive house heads. Under this system, male members are always recorded as the head of family in the Family Registry, and hold superior inheritance rights over female members. The Court held that the provisions which establish the "house head system" are unconstitutional. The Court held that this system is a "statutory device to form a family with male lineage at the center and perpetuate it to successive generations." Furthermore, the system discriminates both men and women because it determines the order of succession, and effects marital relations and parent-children relationships. The Court held that family relationships are changing, from authoritarian to democratic relationships, where "all family members are equally respected as individuals with dignity regardless of sex."
Case on the House Head System