Changing the Commonwealth

In her inaugural speech on anti-corruption since becoming Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC today addressed High Commissioners to the UK on the importance of tackling fraud, bribery and corruption in the Commonwealth. With anti-corruption one of the main priorities for her term in office, Scotland called for Commonwealth nations to work more closely together on the issue.

Her speech came at the end of a conference hosted by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the Royal Commonwealth Society, where the UK’s leading legal experts addressed delegates on promoting prosperity in the Commonwealth.

The conference comes just weeks before the UK Government’s international summit on preventing corruption, scheduled for 12th May, which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last November at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Patricia Scotland said; “The release of the Panama Papers last week highlights the need for a genuinely global effort to promote transparency.”

The newly appointed Secretary-General also made a significant announcement about a new Commonwealth approach to tackling corruption. The proposed developments would see the creation of a Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform to facilitate the sharing of best practice and the development of a kitemark to ensure a Commonwealth standard for compliance against corruption.

The President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Lord Howell of Guildford said; “Being here in the Inner Temple is a strong reminder of one of the most powerful forces of all, perhaps the strongest force of all weaving the 53 nations of the Commonwealth family together – namely the common commitment to, and application and administration of the rule of law.”


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