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Corruption and Conflicts of Interest

Corruption and Conflicts of Interest

A Comparative Law Approach

Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series

Edited by Jean-Bernard Auby, Emmanuel Breen and Thomas Perroud

As in all periods of swift economic development and political upheaval, our era of globalization has brought corruption and conflicts of interest into the spotlight. This comprehensive study highlights the difficulties of devising global legislative and judicial responses to these issues.

Chapter 5: Corruption and conflicts of interest: Future prospects on lobbying

Grégory Houillon

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, constitutional and administrative law, corruption and economic crime, public international law


The development of democracy arising from the people's need to participate more effectively in public debate, and to have a better control of governing authority's actions, has led legal practitioners and scholars to be interested in lobbying. The growing importance of this practice raises the question of its legal boundaries. The exercise of lobbying comprises various practices accomplished by diverse organisms and can be defined as follows: an influential action, motivated by particular, category-specific and divisive interests which are brought to the attention of a particular public officer or a producing branch of imperative legal rules without any counterpart. The aim of this practice is to obtain from the author of the act a legal effect, compatible with the interest defended by the lobbyist. Otherwise put/stated, the lobbyist solicits an administrative or a legal protection for certain particular interests. It neither binds nor commits. A lobbyist can only suggest, or propose, without any compensation. Indeed, any such counterpart would imply either imperative instruction, if the coercion was used on a representative, or corruption or conflict of interest. Concerning public interest, lobbying appears to be partial or biased, whereas it is addressing an authority whose duty is to be impartial. In spite of this apparent contradiction, lobbying has, without a doubt, an essential educational role to play towards public authorities. Therefore, if it is not limited by an 'Exemplary State',it will extend very closely and unintelligibly into conflicts of interests in their most accomplished form: corruption.

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