Lawyers and Corruption Laws

In April 2010, the International Bar Association, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, launched the Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession. The project is focusing on the role lawyers play in fighting corruption in international business transactions.

Nearly half of all respondents recognized corruption to be an issue affecting the legal profession in their own jurisdiction. However, responses varied significantly from region to region. It ranged from only 16 per cent of respondents from Australasia saw corruption as an issue to nearly 90 percent of respondents from the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region, which includes Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, and Russia.

The bad news:

  • Nearly 40 per cent of respondents had never heard of the major international instruments that make up the international anticorruption regulatory framework, such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the UN Convention against Corruption.
  • More than one in five said they have or may have been approached to act as an agent or middleman in a transaction that could reasonably be suspected to involve international corruption.
  • Nearly a third of respondents said a legal professional they know has been involved in international corruption offences.

The good news:

  • 42 per cent of respondents agreed that national anti-corruption laws and regulations were effective in preventing
    both inbound and outbound international corruption compared to five years ago
  • 60 per cent of survey respondents were aware of the FCPA and its scope, while 30 per cent were aware of the UK
    Bribery Act and its scope. (Of course you could look at the other side as bad news.)