IBA President in Singapore for Asia launch of Judicial Integrity Initiative

Today, the President of the International Bar Association (IBA), David W Rivkin, is hosting a high-level meeting in Singapore to develop ideas for the IBA Judicial Integrity Initiative, a new project aimed at combating judicial corruption worldwide. This is the second meeting on the Initiative. The inaugural meeting took place in London, United Kingdom, last month on 19 February.

Attendees of the Asia launch of the Initiative include representatives of Singapore’s Supreme Court, the Office of the Attorney-General, and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. From across the region representatives are attending from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea, and include current and former chief justices, leading lawyers, individuals holding positions in public prosecutions offices, supreme courts, bar associations, international non-governmental organisations, business representatives, and anti-corruption bodies – including Transparency International.

Mr Rivkin commented, ‘Corruption in judiciaries is a problem on every continent, including Asia. Wherever it occurs, this corruption undermines the rule of law and civil society, because it causes citizens to lose faith in the ability of government to assist them. And where judicial corruption exists, it is impossible to eliminate corruption in other aspects of government. This issue requires the attention and resolve of the legal profession as a whole to overcome it, and the IBA, as the global association of lawyers and bar associations, can uniquely contribute to the fight against judicial corruption. The IBA Judicial Integrity Initiativeis as an extension of the anti-corruption work the IBA has been doing around the world; training lawyers to identify corruption, and not to participate in it unwittingly. The IBA OECD UNODC Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Professionwas launched in 2010 and is a flagship programme of the IBA, promoting integrity compliance among lawyers.’ He added, ‘The aim of the Judicial Integrity Initiativeis to raise awareness of the legal consequences of judicial corruption where it exists, combat it through promoting the highest standards of integrity among judges, prosecutors, court personnel and lawyers, and further the best practices of countries that have worked effectively to eliminate corruption. It is clear that we have a lot of work to do and I am very pleased that so many of Asia's leading experts and members of the judiciary have come together to work with us on this important initiative.’

A comprehensive work plan for 2015 and 2016 is to be developed following the meeting in Singapore. Among the activities being considered are: holding in-country dialogues with lawyers, judges and prosecutors on how better to promote integrity in the administration of justice; undertaking a typology study of how and when corrupt practices arise involving lawyers and members of the judiciary; issuing a comprehensive report before the end of 2016 to assist lawyers to better understand the nature of corruption in their respective jurisdictions and how to think and act when they are confronted with corruption in their dealings with the judiciary; and researching best practices in countries that have effectively reduced judicial corruption.

The second meeting on the IBA Judicial Integrity Initiative is being held at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, 1 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058288, on 17 March 2015. The Initiative is a key priority of Mr Rivkin’s two-year tenure as President of the IBA, which commenced on 1 January 2015.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The IBA Judicial Integrity Initiative, launched on 19 February 2015 at the IBA’s main office, 10 St Bride Street, London EC4A 4AD, United Kingdom
  2. The Anti-corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession is a joint project of the International Bar Association (IBA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which focuses on the role lawyers play in combatting international corruption, with particular attention on the relevance of international compliance. As part of this Strategy the IBA conducts worldwide in-country workshops for senior-level private practitioners of those law firms highly involved in business transactions. Click here for further information.
  3. David W Rivkin is a partner at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. His presidency of the IBA is for the two calendar years 2015 and 2016. Click here to download a short bio from the IBA website.
  4. The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA’s administrative office is in London. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, US, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court Programme (IBA ICC) is managed from an office in The Hague.
    The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

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