J Korean Med Assoc.  2014 Jul;57(7):574-579. 10.5124/jkma.2014.57.7.574.

A study on legal problems concerning issuance of false medical certificates

  • 1Attorney at Law of Hwang Mok Park P.C, Seoul, Korea. rojg@hmplaw.com
  • 2Ethical Regulatory Council, Korean Medical Association, Seoul, Korea.


Today, medical certificates are widely used in society; for example, for school enrollment and employment, as well as for insurance purposes, and military service. In addition, they serve an important judicial function. Criminal and violent acts such as murder frequently occur, and traffic and industrial accidents that cause injury and intrude upon a person's life are increasing; therefore, the courts and the organizations required to deal with such cases are heavily dependent on medical certificates. Recently, a television program called 'Madam's Outgo', that describes the stay of execution of the wife of a company CEO, became a subject of public debate. The trial of the professor at a famous medical school, who received criticism for his major role in making a stay of execution possible for the wife of the CEO, evokes the importance and social function of such medical certificates. Criminal laws and medical laws institutionalize the important social function of medical certificates and establish regulations designed to prevent the writing of false medical certificates. This paper minimizes the use of legal terminology, concentrating on Supreme Court precedents, so that the main translation problems associated with such legal regulations can be utilized as data of doctors and non-jurists, and focuses its discussion on issues that can be practically discussed. On the basis of a theory of analysis of criminal guilt associated with false medical certificates, this paper suggests that to be guilty of issuing of false medical certificates, the following elements are required to be proved: who (subject), what document (object), how it should be written to be classified as a false medical certificate (behavior), and what subjective facts should be perceived to be guilty of issuing of false medical certificates (intent), besides examining the medical requirements associated with writing medical certificates. It therefore appears necessary for the Korean Medical Association to henceforth systematically review its "Guidelines for Writing Medical Certificates," written in February 2003, from a legal perspective.


Medical certificate; Criminal guilt of false medical certificates; Doctor; False

MeSH Terms

Accidents, Occupational
Criminal Law
Military Personnel
Schools, Medical
Social Control, Formal


1. Choo HK. Study on criminal guilt of false medical certificates. Lawyers Assoc J. 2003; 52:5–20.
2. Korean Medical Association. Guidelines for medical certificates. Seoul: Korean Medical Association;2003.
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