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Council of Europe anti-corruption body praises UK parliament, judges and prosecutors for taking corruption prevention seriously

Press Release

Strasbourg, 6 March 2013 – Published today by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) [hyperlink to report], an evaluation of the UK’s parliament, judges and prosecutors was largely positive.

“Nothing emerged during the current evaluation which could indicate any element of corruption in relation to judges, nor is there evidence of judicial decisions being influenced in an inappropriate manner”, according to the 46-page report.  

In this context, the report also emphasised transparency in the judicial system and a lack of delays in handling cases by judges, stressing that the European Court of Human Rights had only found 22 cases since 1975 of “undue delays of judicial proceedings.”  

Regarding prosecutors, the report found that “detailed rules and procedures that ensure that the recruitment, promotion and transfer of public prosecutors are carried out according to fair and impartial procedures” were in place.  Moreover, commendable efforts have been made to institutionalise the profession since 1985, to improve its efficiency and to safeguard its integrity and impartiality.  

Focusing on Parliament, the evaluation acknowledged “important steps” have been taken to strengthen financial control in Westminster, following an expenses controversy, and encourages the authorities to further reinforce the transparency and accountability for Members of Parliament.  

In particular, the evaluation took note of plans underway to regulate lobbying and to further develop internal mechanisms that prevent and sanction misconduct.  

The implementation of 8 recommendations at the end of the report will be assessed by GRECO in the second half of 2014 through its “compliance procedure”.