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The University of Richmond Annual Corruption Issue, Part IV: Getting to Universal Anti-Bribery Legislation 

The University of Richmond’s Journal of Global Law & Business is proud to announce its annual Corruption Issue.  In this series of posts, each co-authored by a UR law student and Professor Andy Spalding, we’ll introduce this year’s articles and invite submissions for next year’s issue.

Can the FCPA and the UKBA be guideposts for the creation of universal anti-bribery legislation? In Universal Anti-Bribery Legislation Can Save International Business, available from ssrn here, Lindsey Hills tackles this very issue. Her main concern: how can we level the playing field when the we’re simultaneously playing by different rules?

Imagine a multinational company that has operations in numerous different countries, each enforcing its own anti-bribery law. Sure, duplicative enforcement for a violation is a real concern (see Siemens), a concern that has been addressed on the FCPA Blog numerous times. A bigger concern, as Ms. Hills discusses, is the reality that this multinational company will have to expend significant resources just to build the infrastructure for compliance with all the applicable laws. She argues that the harmonization of anti-bribery laws would lessen the compliance burdens facing multinational companies, freeing up those those expended resources for better use.

The last section of Ms. Hill’s article proposes a few of the ideal provisions that would be included in the universal legislation, each provision taken from either the FCPA or the UKBA. These key provisions include a zero-tolerance policy on facilitation payments (UKBA), alternative enforcement mechanisms such as deferred prosecution agreements (FCPA), and a compliance defense for companies that have adequate procedures in place (UKBA).

As anti-bribery laws continue to proliferate (see China’s relatively recent law, for instance), multinational companies will continue to grapple with diverse and even conflicting compliance burdens. The time to focus on harmonization is nigh.

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The Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business is now accepting articles for publication in its annual bribery and corruption survey. We prefer mid-length articles (around 12,000 words, with a maximum of 18,000 words, including footnotes). If you would like to submit an article for consideration, or discuss the possibility, please contact Chris Rohde here. Articles will be considered through February 15, 2015.


Owen Alberti is a third-year student at the University of Richmond School of Law, and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Global Law & Business.

Andy Spalding is Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Reader Comments (1)

Harmonization of anti-corruption regulation time has come. The current state that multinationals face when operating in different countries is counter productive and leaves many firms trying to decide which law is the most important or has the most teeth. The OECD has guidelines for members to follow, many member states have laws that are not enforced. What good are those laws if a country do not have the will or legal system to enforce them? Before any harmonization of anti-corruption laws to be effective countries must agree to enforce them with the OECD monitoring and providing a yearly report to members that are not complying.
December 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ Farrow
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