International Business Law Advisor Insights on International Litigation & Transactions

Corruption in Legal Systems Persist Around the World. And Will Continue.

Posted in Business Transactions, Corporate Governance, International Arbitration, International Banking, International Litigation, Random Thoughts and Observations

Ashby Jones of the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, just published an article on the findings of a major global survey on corruption released today at the 2010 International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada.  

While it comes as no surprise that corruption persists in many jurisdictions around the world, many in the legal profession are completely unaware of  key international anti-corruption instruments, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

The findings are disappointing. But it gets worse:

According to the survey, more than a fifth of lawyers working in 95 jurisdictions around the world have been approached to act as an agent in a transaction that involved international corruption.

Furthermore, of the 642 lawyers who responded to an online survey between June 15 and July 5, nearly a third said a lawyer they know has been involved in international corruption.

The issue seems the most pronounced outside the U.S. and western Europe. More than 70 percent of the respondents in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and eastern Europe said corruption was an issue in the legal profession.

The report provides three significant recommendations based on the survey results:

  1.  further research should be undertaken into the existence of international corruption in the legal profession;
  2. the legal profession needs to collectively pursue more industry-wide anti-corruption awareness-raising and training activities; and
  3.  compliance programs for legal professionals must include measures to combat bribery and international corruption and be widely disseminated through the firm.

Naturally, I agree to all these points—but it’s just rhetoric until more hard-hitting and detailed resolutions are implemented. 

"Research?" "Training?" And "Measures?"

Are those really the best solutions that we can come up with?

What do you think?

    -Santiago