find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Crime to become top tier speciality

Crime to become top tier speciality

Steven Fleming Jones Day

As authorities crack down on corruption by Australian companies overseas, corporate firms have been urged to hire criminal law specialists to protect their clients.

Jones Day partner Steven Fleming said the Australian Federal Police had undertaken a large-scale anti-corruption initiative in the past three years, prompted by a damning report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“For a number of years, there has been little enforcement going on. Then in 2012 came the first OECD report, which rapped Australia across the knuckles quite severely,” Mr Fleming said.

“This [latest] OECD report confirms that…there are a number of investigations at various stages with the AFP, and prosecutions are going to follow.”

Mr Fleming said large corporations, which tended to "shop at the best and biggest end of town", were most at risk of being targeted by foreign corruption or bribery charges.

“I think what it means is most major law firms in Australia now need to have specialists equipped with criminal law and able to advise and guide corporations through a process that previously they hadn't had to do,” he said.

This might be a challenge for corporate firms with little criminal experience, who in the past advised only on white collar crime or cartel issues, Mr Fleming warned.

“It's a shift away from what corporate law firms have traditionally done. If you are subject to an AFP investigation, that is very squarely criminal law. Corruption is a criminal offence and…the consequences are very severe,” he said.

“I think most of the major law firms are certainly trying to make the appearance of being able to cope and forge a market with these new demands.”

The OECD's 2012 report on Australia’s compliance with the anti-bribery convention found Australian police had a poor track record.

“While the Working Group on Bribery welcomes Australia‘s recent efforts, it has serious concerns that overall enforcement of the foreign bribery offence to date has been extremely low,” the report said.

At that time, only one case had been prosecuted and out of 28 foreign bribery referrals forwarded to the AFP, 21 were concluded without charges.

In its March 2015 update, the OECD found the AFP had become more active, with 15 new foreign bribery cases under investigation.

The AFP had also established a Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, where it could liaise with the ATO, ASIO, ASIC, DFAT and other authorities on bribery cases.

"Australia has made good progress on addressing a number of important recommendations," the updated report found.

Mr Fleming, alongside other experts in anti-corruption measures, will be discussing these issues at the upcoming C5 Anti-Corruption, Compliance and Risk Management conference in Sydney on 28 and 29 May.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Crime to become top tier speciality
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...