Corruption in (Non-)Criminal Commercial Enterprise: Law, Theory and Practice

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Law

Abstract

This proposal reflects the AHRC's Research Networking Scheme's Highlight Notice for 'cross-disciplinary research networks exploring emerging areas of cross-cultural enquiry'. More specifically, this proposal is located within the RCUK's Global Uncertainties Programme (now the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research) and particularly addresses the 'transnational organised crime' theme of the Highlight Notice.

We propose an innovative and original collaborative research network that will bring together academics, practitioners and policymakers with expertise in the areas of organised crime and corruption, and the interdependencies between these, in the context of criminal and non-criminal enterprise in domestic and international commerce in OECD countries. The Network will integrate the law and criminology research expertise of the coordinators with that of other arts and humanities disciplines (e.g. philosophy, film studies, political science/studies, economics and business) and the sciences (e.g. computational science, the information and communications technology field) and will engage with academic and non-academic participants from several jurisdictions to ensure the cross-fertilisation of knowledge and cross-cultural, comparative insights.

The substantive focus of the proposal is on (1) the social and criminal organisation of corrupt relations, practices and processes within criminal and non-criminal commercial enterprises that operate both domestically and transnationally across OECD countries, and on (2) law, theory and practice on how we can understand, predict/detect and act against/intervene with such phenomena. The proposal brings together two often discrete research areas, those of 'organised crime' and 'corruption' and is organised around three complementary streams:

- Stream I: Identifying and understanding corrupt activities within/by non-criminal commercial enterprise (i.e. corruption within/by legitimate businesses per se);
- Stream II: identifying and understanding corrupt activities within/by criminal commercial enterprise (i.e. corruption within/by formally legitimate businesses that are controlled by organised crime groups, and also corruption by/within entirely criminal entities, like drug cartels); and,
- Stream III: Identifying and understanding corrupt activities at the intersections of criminal and non-criminal commercial enterprises.

It is anticipated that the research network will have notable scientific and social impact, advancing theoretical, conceptual and methodological insights into corruption in (non-)criminal commercial enterprise and having practical use for state (e.g. law enforcement agencies) and non-state (e.g. business compliance) responses. For instance, the network will result in evidence-led and practice-relevant research, informed by the needs and experiences of policymakers and practitioners, in the areas of organised crime and corruption - these are key challenges in establishing security and protecting business interests in the UK but also in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice as envisaged by the European Union.

It moves beyond the traditional academic focus on discrete causes and responses, and makes new connections between economics insights, criminology, philosophy and law. It will also facilitate ideas for the development of ICT tools which may minimise corruption, informed by criminological research, cultural studies and economics.

Planned Impact

It is anticipated that the research network will have notable scientific and social impact, advancing theoretical, conceptual and methodological insights into corruption in (non-)criminal commercial enterprise and having practical use for state (e.g. law enforcement agencies) and non-state (e.g. business compliance) responses. For instance, the network will result in evidence-led and practice-relevant research, informed by the needs and experiences of policymakers and practitioners, in the areas of organised crime and corruption - these are key challenges in establishing security and protecting business interests in the UK but also in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice as envisaged by the European Union.

It moves beyond the traditional academic focus on discrete causes and responses, and makes new connections between economics insights, criminology, philosophy and law. It will also facilitate ideas for the development of ICT tools which may minimise corruption, informed by criminological research, cultural studies and economics.

This research network will also directly inform the UK Government's recently published (December 2014) Anti-Corruption Plan in response to the 'corruption threat' to the UK's 'national security, economic prosperity and international reputation'. According to the document, it is the Government's intention to respond to the immediate, domestic priorities by building a better picture of the threat from corruption and the ways in which the UK is vulnerable, by increasing protection against the use of corruption by organised criminals and strengthen integrity in key sectors and institutions, and strengthen the UK's law enforcement response to more effectively pursue those who engaged in corruption or launder their corrupt funds in the UK. The Plan also acknowledges the importance that the UK, as a leading financial centre, has an international responsibility to 'raise global standards, build prosperity, and promote sustainable global growth, open markets and fair access to resources'. The content discussed in the three workshops and the materials produced during and after the series of events will directly inform these priorities of the UK Government.

In light of this new Anti-Corruption Plan, this network will therefore be of interest to policymakers and practitioners working in the areas of counter-organised crime, counter-corruption, financial crimes, proceeds of crime, and procurement. Such stakeholders include the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office the Association of Chief Police Officers, Serious Organised Crime Task Force (Scotland) and the Organised Crime Task Force (Northern Ireland). It will also be significant for NGOs like Transparency international, Corruption Watch and Open Society Institute.

The implications for private practice of legislation like the Bribery Act 2010 and EU procurement directives mean that this network will be crucial for legal and accounting practitioners. Moreover, contemporary regulatory theory identifies the importance of responding to threats such as organised crime and corruption by incorporating non-state actors and organisations, such as the business community and industry more generally, and by implementing extra-legal mechanisms that complement criminal justice responses. This research will inform such non-state responses by providing the analytical tools and knowledge to business, including large corporations and small and medium enterprises (this links directly with the recent Select Committee Report on SMEs) so 'red flags' and vulnerabilities can be identified, prevented, disrupted and reduced.

The public will benefit from the dissemination of distilled analysis of this under-explored issue.

References:
HM Government (2014) UK Anti-Corruption Plan.
House of Lords Select Committee on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Report of Session 2012-13 "Roads to Success: SME Exports

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
AH/N002180/1 01/10/2015 31/07/2016 £33,325
AH/N002180/2 Transfer AH/N002180/1 01/11/2016 28/02/2017 £11,781
 
Description The most significant discoveries were
- the development of insights about the meaning of and responses to corruption.
- the generation of significant new knowledge though the workshops and edited collection .
- a development and embedding of key relationships for future research, both in terms of the network and the links between PI and Co-I.
Exploitation Route The findings in our edited collection and website will be of use for academics and students in this area.
The findings will also be taken forward by the PI and Co-I to influence policy makers and practitioners, as well as the work of NGOs.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description Our findings and insights are influencing the modes of thinking and analysis of practitioners and NGOs by engaging them with socio-legal research on corruption and organised crime.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal

 
Description PaCCS Transnational Organised Crime Theme
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 07/2018