Judicial comparisons: Transparency International Corruption Barometer 2013

Transparency International (TI) have published their annual corruption barometer. There file0001377377165is comparative data on over 100 countries. With corruption in the police and the judiciary being a major source of concern in many jurisdictions it is comforting to see the UK rating for these two groups being good in international terms. Nevertheless, 24% of the UK sample thought the judiciary was corrupt or seriously corrupt. The figure for police was 32%. It could be worse: the figures for the legislature, political parties and the media are all over 60%.

Another interesting issue is which judiciaries in other countries do as well or similarly on the survey. One should probably not read too much into small relative differences but it provides some indication of the company the UK keeps towards the top of this particular tree. Borgen fans will be pleased to see Denmark top:

TI Score

Denmark

1.7

Finland

2

Norway

2

Rwanda

2

Switzerland

2.2

Palestine

2.4

New Zealand

2.5

Sri Lanka

2.5

Thailand

2.5

Germany

2.6

Solomon Islands

2.6

UK

2.7

Libya

2.7

Luxembourg

2.7

Australia

2.8

Canada

2.8

Estonia

2.8

Ethiopia

2.8

Iraq

2.8

Israel

2.9

Somewhat surprisingly, the UK national report says 21% of those coming in to contact with the ‘service’ (I assume this means the courts or legal system more broadly) report paying a bribe to the Judiciary. I understand just short of 8% of the sample came into contact with the judiciary ‘service’; and that 21% of these reported paying a bribe. That works out at about 1.5% of the entire sample.

If 1.5% of the adult population were paying bribes in relation to the legal system then this would be a major concern. There is the potential for survey respondents to misinterpret what they are being asked, so we should not panic. Also, small absolute numbers within such a large sample may be more prone to error. Nevertheless it is a concerning result.

*N.B. I amended this piece to emphasise that the list of judiciaries was the top 20 of those surveyed.  There are a large number of  countries below these.

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About Richard Moorhead

Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics at the Faculty of Laws, University College London with an interest in teaching and research on the legal ethics, the professions, legal aid, access to justice and the courts.
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One Response to Judicial comparisons: Transparency International Corruption Barometer 2013

  1. Andrew says:

    There are a substantial number of people who are so convinced that they are right that they believe that only a bribed judge could fail to see it – I should know, I deal with some of them.

    As for “having paid a bribe” many of the Great Unwashed think that’s what a court fee is . . .

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