Fraud dominates investigations at the Asian Development Bank 

By | Banques de développement, International Organisations, Multilateral Development Banks, News | No Comments

The Office of Anticorruption and Integrity at the Asian Development Bank has just released a pie-chart that provides valuable insight into the focus of its ongoing investigations into sanctionable practices. The key takeaway from the chart is that fraud, running at three quarters of all investigations over the last ten months, overwhelmingly makes up the largest slice of the investigative pie and corruption is the smallest slice at only two percent.

These ADB figures for 2018 are generally consistent with long term trends across the MDBs where corruption cases may grab the headlines but in the vast majority of instances it is fraud that lies at the core of most of the enforcement action brought by their integrity offices.

One question thrown up by the figures for corporates bidding on MDB funded projects to consider is whether they are matching this fraud risk with an equal proportion of their compliance efforts. Neil Macaulay, Co-Head of Chambers at Bretton Woods Law, believes there is a danger that the scale and nature of the risk of committing fraud can easily be underestimated by corporates when setting up their anti-bribery and corruption programs. Given that the base sanction for fraud and corruption violations are the same, with a three-year debarment start point, this could be a costly misjudgement.

MDB investigators routinely focus on procurement frauds as they are generally more widespread and easier to identify and prove than other sanctionable practices such as corrupt bribe payments, which by their nature are more likely to be concealed. Typically, an MDB procurement fraud, known as a misrepresentation, might involve misconduct through a wide range of means including; failure to declare an agent or commission payments, embellished c.v. qualifications or performance track record, forged bid securities, false invoicing and mis-description of joint venture responsibilities. This list is by no means exhaustive and misrepresentations can occur at all stages of the bidding and contract execution processes and the misstatement usually appears on the face of the available project records, which help to explain why fraud carries the greatest risk of debarment and sanction in MDB funded projects.

The Inaugural World Bank Group Sanctions System Annual Report FY18 Reveals a Sharp Rise in Settlements

By | International Organisations, Multilateral Development Banks, News | No Comments

The World Bank Group (WBG) has published for the first time a joint report showing the key figures for debarments, cross-debarments and referrals made in the FY2018 under the WBG Sanctions System. The report collates the figures for sanctions, in particular the number and length of debarments, imposed through the means of settlements with the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), determinations by the Suspension and Debarment Officer (SDO) and the decisions of the Sanctions Board. In addition, the report also contains figures for the last five years that reveal the increasing use of settlements to deal with fraud, corruption, collusion and obstruction infractions under the Bank’s Sanctions System.

Sanction settlements have multiplied from just seven to thirty-nine cases per year between 2014 and 2018, whilst the number of sanctions issued through the SDO’s determinations have fallen over the same period from forty-five to twenty-four cases. Disposals by the Sanctions Board have remained fairly constant over the five-year period with an increase of just one to twenty cases.

Neil Macaulay, Co-Head of Chambers at Bretton Woods Law, believes the continuing sharp increase in settlements over the last year may be readily explained since the vast majority of the shortest periods of debarment have been imposed through negotiated settlements. In other words settlements have become more attractive to those entities facing the sanctions process as the periods of debarment being negotiated with INT are increasingly considered acceptable.

The report helps to puts some statistical flesh on the bones. Of the twenty-nine cases with the shortest periods of debarment, those from one year and six months and below, only one was a result of a determination of the SDO, four emanate from the Sanctions Board and twenty-four were achieved by negotiation settlement with INT.
Significantly these lower penalty settlements also include five cases of ‘conditional non-debarment’ which permit the entities concerned to remain eligible for World Bank funded work provided they engage in remedial integrity compliance work. The growing attractiveness of settlements and the arrival of a new Vice President at INT, Pascale Dubois, is likely to be more than co-incidental, as she is keen to express in the report the benefits of settling sanctions matters in terms of the saving of resources and certainty of outcome for both the investigated party and the WBG.

Those companies that self-report misconduct receive particular praise from Dubois in the following terms:
“For example, two INT cases this year led to settlements with a sanction of ‘conditional non-debarment’ which means the sanctioned company remains eligible to participate in WBG-financed projects as long as it complies with certain obligations. This incentivises good corporate behavior as the companies in these cases came forward voluntarily and disclosed their misconduct. This approach also enables the type of responsible corporate citizens the Bank wants on its projects to continue to be eligible to contribute to the Bank’s mission.”

Ms. Dubois’ plainly incentive words regarding self-reporting appear to be backed up by the reported figures. All five of the cases listed as resolved by conditional non-debarment were arrived at through settlement with INT.

By stark contrast nearly all the cases resulting in the longest periods of debarment emanate from either the Sanctions Board or the SDO. Of the thirty-one most severe sanctions awarded, upwards from three years to ten and a half years debarment, only three arise from settlements and the bulk are divided between the Sanctions Board with nine disposals and the SDO with nineteen.

Overall the WBG report is to be commended as it provides a welcome degree of transparency into the current trends in disposals of sanctions cases by the three distinct limbs that comprise of the WBG Sanctions System and points towards the likelihood of a more favourable debarment outcome through settlement than the alternatives, even taking into account the additional co-operation requirements INT may require under a settlement. It therefore enables those who may be subject to an investigation by INT to make a more informed approach as to the relative merits of settling the case early or running through the SDO/Sanctions Board process.

Any companies, directors, consultants or individuals requiring assistance in dealing with the WBG Sanctions System are welcome to contact the experts in the BWL MDB Team through

Access The full WBG report >

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank closes its Doors to Corrupt Bidders

By | Multilateral Development Banks, News | No Comments

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (‘AIIB’) is the latest Multilateral Development Bank (‘MDB’) to join the ranks of the other long-established MDBs such as the African Development Bank (‘AfDB’), Asian Development Bank (‘ADB’), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (‘EBRD’), the Inter-Amerian Development Bank (‘IADB’) and the World Bank (‘WB’). In furtherance of this objective, the AIIB has announced that it will voluntarily and unilaterally enforce debarment decisions of the other MDBs within its own sanctions regime. Although not yet formally a signatory to the Agreement on Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions (the ‘Agreement’) dated 9th April 2010, the effect of the AIIB’s decision is to render any debarment decisions of the other MDBs which qualify for cross debarment, also applicable at the AIIB, such that nearly one thousand companies which find themselves debarred by the other MDBs will also be ineligible to bid on contracts at the AIIB.

This unilateral action is, of course, likely to be a precursor to the AIIB becoming a formal signatory to the Agreement whereupon decisions within the sanctions regime of the AIIB which qualify for cross debarment will also have effect at the other MDBs. However, whilst the AIIB recognises the harmonised sanctionable practices contained in the Agreement (i.e. ‘fraudulent’, ‘corrupt’, ‘collusive’ and ‘coercive’ practices), it also casts its net wider than the other MDBs by listing three further prohibited practices, namely, ‘obstruction’, ‘theft’ and ‘misuse of resources’.

This announcement comes not long after President Jin Liqun of the AIIB stated publically at the European Financial Forum that he viewed the role of the AIIB as being that of steward of taxpayers’ money from many different countries – a position which requires the highest bar for integrity and compliance.

The AIIB has appointed Hamid Sharif to the post of Director General of its Compliance, Effectiveness and Integrity Unit (‘CEIU’) which has been set up to lead the charge against corruption on bank-financed projects. Sharif notes that:

“AIIB’s institutional arrangements creates increased accountability and transparency because I report directly to our Board of Directors as the head of the integrity unit. This creates an open channel that will improve the bank’s ability to react and deal with any suspicions of corruption or unethical behaviour in our projects”.

On 8th December 2016, the AIIB published its Policy on Prohibited Practices (the ‘Policy’) in which it made it clear that all parties are “to adhere to the highest ethical standards” whilst also creating the authority for the conduct of investigations by an Investigations Officer into allegations of prohibited conduct by parties who engage with the Bank. In the context of the AIIB Policy, ‘party’ means any party (and its respective officers, employees and agents), who:

  1. in the case of a Project financed by a Sovereign-backed Financing, is involved in such Project, including, inter alia, recipients of Financing, beneficiaries of technical cooperation, bidders, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, sub- consultants, service providers, applicants, concessionaires and financial intermediaries; or
  2. in the case of a Project financed by a Non-sovereign-backed Financing, is involved in such Project, including, inter alia, borrowers, sponsors, recipients of Financing, beneficiaries of technical cooperation, bidders, suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, sub-consultants, service providers, applicants, concessionaires, financial intermediaries, guaranteed parties, and investee companies; or
  3. contracts with the Bank for advisory services to be performed by the Bank. 
  4. contracts with the Bank in relation to the Bank’s corporate procurement or any other matter not covered by the preceding three clauses, except for Bank Personnel.

Given the very significant impact that cross debarment can have on the ability of a company to do business, parties which find themselves under investigation, or which receive a Statement of Charges from an Investigation Officer or a Notice of Administrative Action from the Sanctions Officer should recognise that the way in which such matters are handled at the early stages can have a lasting impact on the case and a company’s future.

The lawyers at Bretton Woods Law are uniquely placed to deal with investigations, negotiated resolution agreements (‘NRAs’) and sanctions proceedings within the regimes of the multilateral development banks.

Contact Bretton Woods Law:

The EU Court’s Grand Chamber supports equality and the rule of law in EU Missions

By | IAL, International Administrative Law, News, Rule of Law | No Comments

In a long awaited judgment the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) found on appeal that it has jurisdiction in an employment dispute brought by an Italian magistrate who was seconded by her government to the CDSP mission in Bosnia Herzegovina.

In the Case C‑455/14 P H vs. Council of the European Union and the European Commission and the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina the claimant brought a legal suit before the EU General Court seeking the annulment of a re-deployment decision adopted by the Head of the EUPM and compensation for harm suffered as a result of alleged psychological harassment.

In an earlier decision refusing the claim the EU General Court ruled on 10 July 2014 in H v Council and Others (T‑271/10) that it lacked jurisdiction since the contested decisions fell within the EU’s Common Foreign Security Policy (‘CFSP’) and relied upon provisions that set out that the CJEU shall not have jurisdiction over provisions relating to the CFSP norwith respect to acts adopted on the basis of those provisions.

The Grand Chamber ruling on 19th July 2016 found that pursuant to the aforementioned provisions, the CJEU does not, in principle, have jurisdiction on the provisions of, or acts adopted under, the CSFP. The Court then observed that the European Union was founded, in particular, on the values of equality and the rule of law stating:

“The very existence of effective judicial review designed to ensure compliance with provisions of EU law is inherent in the existence of the rule of law”.

Whilst the ruling acknowledged that the contested decisions were admittedly set in the context of the CFSP it added that this does not necessarily exclude the jurisdiction of the EU judicature. The Grand Chamber then referred to the fact that the EU judicature had jurisdiction to rule on all actions brought by EU staff members having been seconded to the EUPM. It noted that staff members seconded by the Member States and those seconded by the EU institutions were subject to the same rules so far as concerns the performance of their duties ‘at theatre level’.

Indeed, the decisions adopted by the authorities of that mission, which related to the allocation of human resources assigned to it by the EU institutions and Member States, did have an operational element, which fell within the CFSP. However, by their very essence, they also constitute acts of staff management. Consequently, it was held that the jurisdiction of the EU judicature should not be excluded from reviewing acts of staff management that relate to staff members seconded by the Member States.

Finally the Grand Chamber held that the contested decisions were only imputable to the Council and that, accordingly, the action was admissible only in so far as it was directed against the Council. The case was referred back to the General Court for judgment on the substance of the action.

The Grand Chamber’s judgment is very welcome news for more than 1500 staff who currently serve with CSDP missions, in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. It is an important step towards bringing missions under judicial scrutiny, thus achieving greater legal accountability. It is expected that the case-law of the CJEU will also serve as an important tool for policy change and as guidance for human resources officials in CSDP missions, seconding institutions and employees serving in CSDP missions alike.

In conclusion, the Grand Chamber has made an important ruling by permitting effective judicial review of staff management decisions by a CSDP mission, thusensuring compliance with EU law, including the EU Charter, and bringing a welcome boost to the morale of staff upon whom the success of such missions ultimately depends.

View full decision >

Antje Kunst provides lecture to a delegation of the Vietnamese bar federation

By | IAL, International Administrative Law, News | No Comments

On 6 July 2016, Antje Kunst from Bretton Woods Law provided a lecture to a delegation of the Vietnamese bar federation during a study trip organized by the German Federal Bar and the Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ).

The German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) is the umbrella organization of the 28 regional Bars in Germany (Rechtsanwaltskammern) and safeguards the professional interests of all lawyers in Germany at a federal, European and international level.

The delegation consisted of the vice-president of the Vietnam Bar Federation and vice-presidents of several regional bar associations in Vietnam.

Antje provided a lecture on risks and threats of corruption and the legal profession setting out inter alia the results of the IBA OECD and UNODC survey of 2010 in this area. She explained international anti-corruption instruments such as UNCAC, its implementation review process and requirements on preventive measures and criminal sanctions. She elaborated on the IBA international principles on conduct for the legal profession of 2011, i.e. independence, integrity, avoidance of conflicts of interest and confidentiality/professional secrecy. She discussed with her Vietnamese colleagues specific corruption risks for the legal profession such as the attorney-client privilege and the instruction of lawyers as intermediaries or agents (especially in international business transactions).

She highlighted the role of the legal profession can play in the international fight against corruption referring to the IBA Anti-Corruption Guidance for Bar Associations: Creating, Developing and Promoting Anti-Corruption Initiatives for the Legal Profession. Her Vietnamese colleagues provided interesting insights on corruption in the justice sector, the national anti-corruption legislation, projects and efforts to curb corruption including in the legal profession and the challenges faced.

World Bank Group v Wallace: International Organizations’ Immunities and their Involvement in the Fight Against Corruption

By | International Organisations, News, World Bank | No Comments

Was this a great victory or a near miss?

Much has been written about the recent Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) judgment World Bank Group v. Wallace.[1] Advocates of whistleblower rights and the anti-corruption community have declared this decision a clear stance in favour of whistleblower protection and a big win in the fight against corruption.

A further review of the decision and a close examination of the context in which the SCC was asked to rule reveals, however, a far more nuanced result. An examination of the underlying facts which led to the decision exposes certain shortcomings on the part of the World Bank Group (“WBG”) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”) collaborators. These shortcomings risk compromising the sanctity of international organizations’ immunities and that of the fundamental right of an individual to a fair trial. They also highlight the need for the implementation of clear protocols when domestic law enforcement and international organizations wish to collaborate. A review of the facts and context of this matter is necessary to allow an understanding of the actual issues arising in the case and the takeaways stemming therefrom.



A. The Facts

Kevin Wallace (“Wallace”), a former executive of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (“SNC-Lavalin”), is accused of one count of bribing foreign public officials under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (“CFPOA”).[2] Dating back to 2010, the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (“INT”)[3] received emails from four tipsters alleging that certain representatives (the “Accused”) of SNC-Lavalin were planning to bribe foreign officials in Bangladesh in order to obtain a contract relating to the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.[4] Following their own investigation, INT contacted the RCMP and exchanged various documents including their investigative reports and the tipsters’ emails, in an effort to assist the RCMP prosecute the Accused. Following this information exchange, the RCMP obtained wiretap authorizations in furtherance of obtaining direct evidence of the Accused’s involvement in the alleged corruption.[5]

Wallace intended to challenge the merits of the wiretap authorizations by way of a Garofoli Application[6], therefore he brought forth a pre-trial motion to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice requesting that the trial judge find that the two subpoenas he issued to WBG’s senior investigators were validly served. Moreover, he sought a third party production order by way of an O’Connor application[7], requesting access to certain WBG documents (“Archives”) that were relied upon by the RCMP to support their requests for the wiretap authorizations.[8]


B. The Lower Court’s Decision Under Appeal

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice authorized the Accused’s subpoenas to compel testimony of WBG’s senior investigators, Mr. Paul Haynes and Mr. Christopher Kim, and the third party production order of the Archives in the possession of the WBG in order to use these Archives as evidence in a motion to contest the wiretap authorizations. It is those decisions that were appealed to the SCC by the WBG.

It is thus critical to understand that this matter was before the SCC essentially on a procedural question: could Wallace obtain certain Archives and testimonies from the WBG in an attempt to attack the wiretap authorizations that the RCMP obtained, which wiretap authorizations were based on information stemming from the WBG collaboration? The questions were framed to the SCC, as follows: 1) whether the WBG could be subject to a production order issued by a Canadian court and 2) if so, whether in the context of a challenge to the wiretap authorizations pursuant to a Garofoli application, the Archives sought met the test for relevance.[9]


C. Position of the Parties

i. Wallace (One of the Respondents)
Counsel for Wallace argued that the materials sought from the O’Connor Application, within the context of a Garofoli Application, were likely relevant.[10] Moreover, they argued that there was no evidence that INT forms part of the WBG and therefore did not benefit from the immunities outlined in the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act.[11] Notwithstanding this and assuming that the immunities did apply to INT, they argued that the immunities were purely functional, not absolute.[12] Finally, they argued that the WBG implicitly waived its immunities through the conduct of the INT personnel.[13]

ii. World Bank Group (Appellant)
Counsel for the WBG argued that the information sought by the Accused from the O’Connor Application, within the context of a Garofoli Application, was not likely relevant. Moreover, they stated that INT forms part of the WBG and, as such, their immunities must be absolute in order to prevent undue interference in the operations of an international organization. Finally, counsel argued that archival immunity is not subject to waiver, while personnel immunity is subject to express waiver.[14]

iii. Interventions
Counsel for Transparency International argued the importance of enforcing immunities as they are essential in encouraging cooperation in fighting corruption and protecting whistleblowers.[15]

Counsel for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank and other international organisations, argued that waiver of immunities must be done expressly and not implicitly. According to them, express waiver is the only way of protecting and ensuring uniformity of the status of international organizations from one jurisdiction to another.[16]

Counsel for the British Colombia Civil Liberties Association argued that implied waiver is necessary in certain circumstances in order to promote the accused’s right to full answer and defence.[17] Similarly, counsel for the Criminal Lawyer’s Association argued the importance of balancing international organizations’ immunities with the accused’s right to a fair trial. As such, international organizations’ immunities must be functional and can be waived. They also suggested remedial action in cases where production of documents could not be ordered.[18]


D. The Judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada 

The SCC ruled in favour of the WBG by stating that both their personnel and their Archives were protected by absolute immunities conferred to them in the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act.[19]  While archival immunity is not subject to waiver, personnel immunity is subject to express waiver.[20] In the present case, the SCC concludes that the WBG did not waive its immunity, as they always expressly reiterated that they provided the information without prejudice to its immunities.[21] Finally, the court concluded that even if the WBG did not possess immunities, the production order should not have been issued under Canadian law as the Archives sought were not deemed likely relevant under a Garofoli Application.[22]



There have been numerous articles about this decision being a hallmark case for the protection of whistleblowers and a victory for the global fight against corruption. While on its face it is tempting to jump to this conclusion, the actual judgment reveals that this case is not about whistleblower protection or corruption at all. Aside from an introductory passage from the SCC on the idea of corruption transcending borders and the necessity of worldwide cooperation in tackling this problem[23], the impacts of this decision on whistleblower protection and the fight against corruption are incidental at best.

Then, what is this case really about? At its core, this is a case that was born of the competing interests of an international organization’s foundational right of privileges and immunities and the relatively new quasi enforcement practices of integrity offices within these organizations.

Although in this specific matter, the WBG’s immunities are upheld and Wallace’s attempt to compel evidence is denied, we feel it is important not to lose sight of risks resulting from ad hoc collaboration between domestic law enforcement and international organizations like the WBG. Certain shortcomings on the part of the WBG and the RCMP collaborators created two important risks in this matter: (A) the potential miscarriage of justice through a denial of certain fundamental rights of the accused; and (B) the risk of compromising the immunities enjoyed by international organizations.


A. The Potential Infringement on the Fundamental Rights of the Accused

Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms[24] states that an accused is presumed innocent until the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty. Moreover, an accused is entitled to a fair trial, that includes the right to full answer and defence. As part of this right, Accused have the right to full disclosure of evidence by the prosecution.[25]

Applying this to the present case and perhaps stating the obvious, Wallace may very well be innocent with no violation of the CFPOA having been committed. At the outset, it should be pointed that calling this a win for anti-corruption efforts presumes the guilt of the Accused. The enthusiasm on the part of pundits should be tempered, at least until such time as the Accused has had the opportunity to be heard and tried.

Further, the RCMP played a significant role in the risk of the course of justice being perverted by failing to respect their own operational policies.[26] While the trial judge attempted to remediate this misconduct, it remains that there were deficiencies in the Stinchcombe[27] disclosure that may be prejudicial to the Accused, for example, the lost emails and missing notes from the RCMP affiant.[28]

Finally, while the SCC has confirmed the WBG immunities, it has not addressed the impact this will have on an accused’s right to a fair trial. The SCC has opened the door to that argument being raised by Wallace to the trial judge. The WBG may risk the course of justice being perverted by providing only the incriminating evidence to local law enforcement, while neglecting to provide the exculpatory evidence. As well, the level of enmeshment of the WBG in criminal prosecutions may have the adverse effect of throwing out a case instead of contributing to a successful prosecution. In the present case, the following outcomes are still possible:

  1. Conviction of Wallace based on the evidence provided;
  2. Acquittal of Wallace based on the evidence;
  3. Acquittal of Wallace on other grounds altogether, based perhaps on the RCMP’s investigative missteps resulting from Stinchcombe[29] disclosure deficiencies; or
  4. Acquittal of Wallace on grounds that the SCC’s decision to uphold the immunities of international organizations violates his right to receive all relevant material to his case and thus impedes his right to a fair trial.

Indeed, if Wallace raises this 4th argument successfully at trial, the chilling effect on future collaboration will be dramatic. Future accused, by being denied critical evidence in possession of the prosecution – due to international organizations’ immunities, may obtain acquittals based on the resulting denial of fundamental rights.


B. Jeopardizing Immunities 

This decision was being closely monitored the world over for precisely the following reason: Would a well respected high court rule in a manner which could weaken, even in the slightest, the privileges, exemptions and immunities afforded to and guarded so preciously by international organizations?

While the SCC confirmed that INT has absolute archival immunity not subject to waiver and absolute personnel immunity that is subject only to express waiver, it cannot go unnoticed that INT’s actions posed a threat to the immunities of international organizations. The Accused questioned INT’s archival immunity since they were willing to provide hundreds of documents to the Crown, however, they were opposed to providing certain documents to the defence.[30] Moreover, the Accused questioned INT’s personnel immunity since they were willing to accept subpoenas from the Crown and testify in court. However, while they accepted a subpoena from the defence, they later refused to be bound by it.[31] At the SCC, the WBG argued primarily on the importance of absolute immunities and stated that they never waived their personnel immunity, as they always replied by stating that they were accepting the subpoenas subject to their privileges and immunities.[32]

Although the SCC deemed this method as being sufficient in the protection of their immunities[33], it should be noted that the WBG seemed to be prioritizing and even showing favouritism to the Crown’s case by assisting them in any way they could. Though the decision was rendered in favour of the WBG and immunities were upheld much to the relief of international organizations, it should be viewed by international organizations as a near miss rather than a great victory. International organizations would be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t recognize the precarious situation that INT’s actions put the WBG in and do a post mortem to ensure immunities are not put in peril in the future.




A balance must be achieved between the protection of international organizations’ immunities, their willingness to cooperate in national law enforcement files and the fight against corruption. To what extent can the WBG provide information to local law enforcement while nonetheless being immune from any type of production order or subpoena? How can INT ensure that their immunities are never put into question again?

International organizations are well positioned to lead the fight against corruption. Their raison d’être places them at the nexus between private industry and government agencies of developing countries often high on the corruption index. Cooperation and information exchanges must be carefully managed to support domestic law enforcement initiate prosecutions in a matter so as not to infringe the basic right of the accused to a fair trial, failing which, the accused’s right to full answer and defence may be compromised and the related prosecution jeopardized. The following are points that should be considered by domestic law enforcement and international organizations when they wish to collaborate.


1) Establishing clear protocols for disclosure of information between International Organizations and local law enforcement

The international organization should create a hermetic investigative file and limit channels of communication with local law enforcement in order to shield its investigators from being pulled into domestic criminal cases. International organizations may even consider going as far as limiting disclosures to a single written submission.


2) Ensure protection of immunities by employing a consistent approach when engaging with third-parties

To bolster personnel immunity, international organizations must be consistent in their approach when faced with a subpoena request. All subpoena requests should be rejected at the outset on grounds that accepting a subpoena goes counter to the inviolable right to personnel immunity. The handling of the subpoena in the Wallace case was hasty and exposed personnel immunity to an unnecessary challenge. The SCC upheld the immunity but a proactive and disciplined approach internally would have avoided the challenge altogether. This can be achieved through clear internal policies and standard operating procedures instructing personnel on how to handle judicial orders.

Additionally, while their involvement is of assistance in international criminal prosecutions, international organizations must not completely enmesh themselves with the investigation. The WBG should be reminded that, in the absence of their ability to prosecute, they must allow domestic law enforcement and public prosecutors to independently fulfill their respective roles.


3) Recognize the difference between the burden of proof between international organizations’ sanctioning practices and criminal prosecutions

Domestic law enforcement, and particularly Canadian agencies such as the RCMP, the Canadian Competition Bureau, the Sureté du Québec’s Unité Permanente Anti-Corruption, the Ontario Provincial Police and others,should understand that the investigative findings of international organizations are not held to the standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt, required in a criminal prosecution. INT, for example, when dealing with sanctions cases, relies on a standard of proof akin to civil matters in its prosecution of files within the WBG, i.e., on a balance of probabilities, and INT, just as most enforcement functions of other international organizations, will base its cases on proof that does not meet the higher evidentiary standards of criminal prosecutions. As against that, international organizations’ investigative units do not have broad, intrusive, domestic law enforcement rights to search, seize, detain or compel evidence from third parties. As such, collaboration between international organizations and domestic law enforcement can lead to a perfect storm where certain allegations brought forth in a quasi-prosecutorial forum with a lower burden of proof, are relied on to obtain criminal investigative powers such as wiretaps or searches. It is the prosecutor’s duty to present this in a neutral position to the judge hearing requests for such ex parte authorizations. Having this element discussed explicitly at the authorization stage and fleshed out by the judge may shield it from future scrutiny on this issue at trial.


4) Domestic law enforcement must respect their own operational policies

Finally, and most evidently, the RCMP must respect its own operational policy by listing document exchanges, meetings and telephone calls as well as document and preserve all written requests and designate key points of contacts at the outset of the collaboration with the international organisation.[34] In the event that an RCMP Sergeant presents an affidavit, primarily based on the information provided by investigators of an international organization, the RCMP must ensure that all the statements declared can be disclosed and proved to the defence. The RCMP must look at the information coming from the international organization in a manner akin to any allegation received from the public and refrain from becoming overly reliant on it in its own investigations and prosecution.



There remains a possibility that Wallace benefit the most from the outcome of this judgment. The real consequence of this decision will only be understood at the conclusion of this trial. If the trial judge does not address the SCC’s judgment as a foundation for Wallace’s acquittal, then this judgment will leave us with nothing more than a clear pronouncement on the standard to meet for an applicant to successfully obtain documents from law enforcement when attacking a wiretap authorization, as well as a good obiter discussion on the question of international organizations’ immunities.

Regarding whistleblowers, upholding the immunities of the international organizations may appear at first glance to be useful in protecting the identities of the tipsters, as international conventions encourage or mandate domestic whistleblower protection. For example, The United Nations Convention Against Corruption[35] suggests that states consider adopting appropriate measures to protect whistleblowers. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development[36] also has numerous guidelines and recommendations promoting and encouraging states to create adequate whistleblowing protection mechanisms. Transparency International has been a strong vocal advocate of such measures for years.

We are strongly supportive of such measures and note despondently that Canadian legislation on whistleblowing protection is woefully deficient. However, it is not in the upholding of international organizations’ immunities that the court can compensate for the lack of clarity in domestic law. International organizations must protect whistleblowers under their rules and whistleblowers should be protected whether they are in a matter involving international organizations or not. International organizations’ immunities were never intended, and should not be construed as a de facto whistleblowing protection policy.

Whichever way this case unfolds, one thing remains clear from the present facts: if collaboration between international organizations and law enforcement is to strengthened, international organizations and domestic law enforcement would be wise to review their current modus operandi in light of this decision and consider implementing improved measures.

Co-written by:

Ayman Daher, Partner at Bretton Woods Law Canada

Mr. Daher works in the fields of anti-bribery and anti-corruption, compliance and investigations related disputes and and regulatory and quasi-judicial sanctions cases.

Alan Sarhan, Partner at Bretton Woods Law Canada
Mr. Sarhan is active in the field of in Multilateral Development Banks sanctions, business integrity crisis prevention and anti-corruption and bribery legislation.

In collaboration withJessica Lee Moye, Student-at-Law at Bretton Woods Law Canada.

Ms. Moye attends the Faculty of Law at the University of Sherbrooke, graduating in the Summer 2017.


[1] World Bank Group v. Wallace, 2016 SCC 15.
[2] Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, S.C. 1998, c.34.
[3] World Bank Group v. Wallace, prec., note 1, par. 13, 50: The INT is an integrity office that forms part of the WBG, “responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, corruption and collusion in relation to projects financed by the WBG.
[4] Id., par. 11,14.
[5] Id.,par. 16.
[6] Id., par. 100,116, 120;R. v. Garofoli, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1421: A Garofoli Application is a motion brought to challenge the admissibility of a wiretap authorization. In the present case, the Accused is seeking to challenge wiretap authorizations by demonstrating that Sergeant Jamie Driscoll (the “affiant”) from the RCMP, knew or ought to have known that there were errors or omissions in the affidavits he drafted in order to obtain the authorizations.
[7] Id., par. 112-113, 116; R. v. O’Connor, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 411: An O’Connor Application is a motion brought to obtain Archives that are in the hands of third parties “third party production order”. The Accused has the burden of proof of demonstrating that the requested Archives are “likely relevantto an issue at trial, such as the credibility or reliability of a witness to testify […] that will have a direct impact on the guilt or innocence of the accused”.
[8] Id., par. 124; In the present case, the Accused is seeking a third party production order (O’Connor) from the WBG in order to use the Archives to contest the wiretap authorizations (Garofoli).  Therefore, in this context, the Accused has a narrower burden of proof of demonstrating that the requested Archives are likely relevant in indicating that the affiant knew or ought to have known of certain errors or omissions in the affidavits drafted to obtain the wiretap authorizations.
[9] Id., par. 23.
[10] Id., par. 35.
[11] Id., par. 36.; Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.B-7.
[12] Id., par. 37, 56: “Functional Immunity is one that only applies when it has been specifically demonstrated that the immunity is necessary for the organization to carry out its operations and responsibilities […], [whereas Absolute Immunity] is not subject to this case-by-case determination of functional necessity”.
[13] Id., par. 37.
[14] Id., par. 32-33,56; Factum of the Appellant, World Bank Group, SCC File No. 36315, par. 105.
[15] Id., par. 39.
[16] Id.
[17] Id., par. 40.
[18] Id.
[19] Id., par.48,59; Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, prec., note 11.
[20] Id., par. 82,87,90.
[21] Id., par. 95.
[22] Id., par. 100.
[23] Id., par. 1.
[24] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11, art. 11.
[25] R. v. Stinchcombe, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 326.
[26] Factum of the Respondent, Kevin Wallace, SCC File No. 36315, par. 37.
[27] R. v. Stinchcombe, prec., note 26.
[28] Factum of the Respondent Kevin Wallace, prec., note 27, par. 18,37-39; World Bank Group v. Wallace, prec., note 1, par. 18, 110.
[29] R. v. Stinchcombe, prec., note 26.
[30] Factum of the Respondent Kevin Wallace, prec., note 27, par. 2, 117.
[31] Id., par.3,21,58,62-64,67, 137, 140.
[32] Id., par. 62.
[33] World Bank Group v. Wallace, prec., note 1, par. 95.
[34] Factum of the Respondent Kevin Wallace, prec., note 27, par. 37.
[35] United Nations Convention Against Corruption, 31st October 2003, art. 33, online:
[36] The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development,“Recommendation on Guidelines for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service”, June 2003, online:

International Events and Opportunities

By | International Administrative Law, Multilateral Development Banks, News | No Comments

Earlier this month, a delegation of seven barristers from different sets of Chambers including Alex Haines from Bretton Woods Law and Bar Council representatives including the Chairman of the Bar, travelled to Seoul and Shanghai for a four-day business development mission. The delegation spent two days in Seoul on 4th and 5th April, where it was joined by four barristers from the Korean Exchange Programme for young lawyers, who were spending two weeks in Korean law firms. On 6th and 7th April, the delegation moved onto Shanghai for the second part of the mission.

Bar Council business development missions are aimed at promoting barristers’ expertise as advocates in international dispute resolution and at raising awareness of the ability of foreign law firms and clients to instruct the Bar directly. All business development missions organised by the Bar Council provide a platform for barristers to network with local lawyers and better understand the local markets, and build relationships with local bar associations with a view to exploring opportunities for further collaboration. Given the ever increasing link between the rise in barristers’ income from international work and the challenges faced by the profession domestically, it has never been as important as it is today to generate new connections and consolidate existing relationships. In the case of China, the Bar Council has been running a training scheme for Chinese lawyers since 1986. This mission was also the third to Seoul since 2011, meaning that there was already a solid connection between the Bar and its counterparts in South Korea and China.

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BWL Academic Member – Rishi Gulati – Presents at NYU on International Organisations Immunities on 11 April 2016

By | Administrative Law, IAL, International Administrative Law, Multilateral Development Banks, News | No Comments

Monday, April 11, 2016  |  12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Seminar Room 110, Furman Hall, 245 Sullivan Street

IO Immunity: Access to Justice Denied?

International Organisations (“IOs”) enjoy jurisdictional immunities before domestic courts.  The effect of such immunities is that, generally speaking, national courts refuse to adjudicate disputes where an IO is sued, and where that IO refuses to waive its immunity from suit. Traditionally, IO immunities have been absolute, and generally speaking domestic courts refuse to pierce it. This means that often, individuals and private parties who may have a grievance against an IO, in seeking a remedy, are left to the mercy of the IO’s internal justice system, or to alternative forms of dispute resolution such as arbitration, which can be expensive and opaque. 

In this presentation, I will first, highlight the kinds of disputes that may arise between IOs and private parties. Second, I focus on disputes between IOs and its staff, a common occurrence, showing that such employees may often be left without a remedy. Given that such cases arise frequently, this is a fertile ground to analyse how the principles on IO immunities are developing and work in practice. Finally, I discuss the ongoing Haiti litigation, and the case law from the European Court of Human Rights regarding the right to access to courts and its bearing on IO immunity. I will conclude by making observations whether or not these decisions have succeeded in enhancing access to justice.

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The Individual in International Law: Perspectives from International Human Rights Litigation

By | Human Rights, International, News | No Comments

Date: Thursday 17 March
Time: 16.30 -18.00
Venue: SW1.17, Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus

Traditionally, individuals have been the “objects” of international law and not”subjects”. This is not the case anymore. Individuals now have an enhanced status in the international legal sphere, and at the least, are now genuine participants in the international legal order. How is this enhanced status reflected in practice?

In this presentation, having regard to his doctoral topic and practice as an international lawyer, Rishi Gulati will discuss certain regimes of law where individuals have standing in international law.

First, he will briefly discuss his experiences in representing clients at the Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture, focusing on some due process issues. Second, he will canvass issues around individual access to a court vis-à-vis disputes between International Organisations (IOs) and individuals, with particular reference to the problematic regime on IO immunities. Finally, he will make some brief observations as to how the theoretical discourse on the individual’s status in international law is being reflected in practice.

Speaker bio: Rishi Gulati is a Dickson Poon Scholar of Law at King’s College London(2015-18),undertaking a PhD in the area of international dispute resolution under the supervision of Dr Philippa Webb. As part of his PhD, Rishi also focuses on enhancing access to justice for individuals vis-à-vis disputes with International Organisations.Rishi has previously worked as an International Lawyer for the Australian Government. As a Barrister, he has represented clients before several international tribunals and fora, including the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture. He is also an Academic Expert at a leading public international law Barristers’ Chambers, Bretton Woods Law.

To reserve a seat, please register here >

Rishi Gulati Presents on Immunities of International Organisations and Access to Justice at the Max Planck Institute of Public and International Law

By | International Organisations, News | No Comments

On 24th February 2016, Rishi Gulati, Australian Barrister and Academic Expert at Bretton Woods Law, gave a presentation at the Max Planck Institute for Public and International Law in Germany. The presentation concerned the latest developments on the law of the immunities of International Organisations focusing on access to justice. The presentation was very well received. Various matters were discussed in the presentation and the Q&A session, including the ongoing Haiti Litigation in US courts.

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