Compensating victims of corruption

What’s the issue?

Corruption causes enormous harm. It damages trust in public institutions and governance, causes significant losses to the public purse, and distorts public spending priorities. Yet the detailed harm caused by specific corrupt acts is rarely elaborated in court trials or put to juries in corruption cases. Those who are harmed most by the corruption, often the poorest in affected countries, rarely receive any compensation or direct benefit from successful enforcement actions.

What does Spotlight on Corruption do?

Our work builds on that done by Corruption Watch, which led to the first Community Impact Statement being put before a court in England and Wales in a corruption case and helped lead to the 2018 General Principles on compensation.

We advocate for

  • Proper representation of harm caused by corruption in criminal trials and Deferred Prosecution Agreements

  • Compensation to be given to victims of bribery, corruption and economic crimes, including communities that have suffered harm as well as affected states

The UK is ahead of many other countries in having a set of principles around compensating overseas victims of bribery, corruption and economic crime – the 2018 General Principles – although the challenges of implementing them are significant.

We monitor how the enforcement agencies are implementing the Compensation Principles. We also explore new opportunities for submitting Community Impact Statements to the courts in corruption cases.

Any compensation should benefit the people most affected by corruption (widely recognised to be the poorest members of societies) and help prevent further corruption.

Our resources

  • Compensation discussion paper – June 2018
    Discussion paper by Corruption Watch and RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development) for the Roundtable on Compensating Victims for the Harm of Overseas Corruption, which looks at the case law, lessons and questions about compensation raised by recent corruption cases.

  • No room at the witness stand February 2015
    Corruption Watch blog on the efforts to get compensation and a Community Impact Statement submitted to the court in the Smith and Ouzman case.