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Specialised anti-corruption courts – A comparative mapping

2022 update

Anti-corruption courts are an increasingly common feature of national anti-corruption reform strategies. By mid-2022 we counted 27 such courts across Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Reasons for their creation include the resolution of backlogs but also concerns about the ability of ordinary courts to handle corruption cases impartially. While there are no definitive best practices for specialised anti-corruption courts, existing models and experience provide some guidance to reformers considering the creation of similar institutions.

12 November 2022
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Video: Publication launch

Experts share experiences and insights from the establishment of specialised anti-corruption courts in this panel discussion recording.

Main points

  • There has been a steady increase in new specialised courts across Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, totalling 27 in mid-2022. On average, two new courts were set up each year over the past decade.
  • About half of the jurisdictions with anti-corruption courts have relatively simple specialisation at trial level. Appeals are handled by the general court system. There is also an increase in the number of comprehensive parallel systems with specialisation at both trial and appeal levels.
  • The most common reason for the establishment of special anti-corruption courts is the need for greater efficiency in resolving corruption cases promptly, signalling to domestic and international observers that the country takes anti-corruption seriously.
  • In some countries concerns about the ability of the ordinary courts to handle corruption cases impartially have also led to the decision to create anti-corruption courts. Special procedures, such as new approaches to screening judicial candidates, are put in place to ensure the anti-corruption courts’ integrity.
  • Investments in the collection and accessibility of data are necessary to allow for a rigorous analysis of the anti-corruption courts’ role in reducing corruption and of possible spill-over effects on the overall court system.

Cite this publication


Stephenson, M.; Schütte, S.; (2022) Specialised anti-corruption courts – A comparative mapping. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2022:14)

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About the authors

Matthew C. Stephenson

Matthew C. Stephenson is Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is an expert in anti-corruption law, legislation, administrative law, and the application of political economy to public institutional design. He has served as a consultant, advisor, and lecturer on topics related to anti-corruption, judicial reform, and administrative procedure for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and national governments and academic institutions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Global Anticorruption Blog (www.globalanticorruptionblog.com), with more than 10,000 followers.

Dr. Sofie Arjon Schütte leads U4’s thematic work on the justice sector, including specialised institutions like anti-corruption agencies and courts. Previously, she worked for the Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia and the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission and has conducted workshops and short-term assignments on corruption in more than 15 countries. She is editor of the series of U4 publications on anti-corruption courts around the world.

Disclaimer


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Keywords


anti-corruption courts, Senegal, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Indonesia, Burundi, Botswana, Nepal, Cameroon, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Kenya, Palestine, justice sector, Tanzania, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Croatia, Malaysia, Uganda, Bangladesh