Regulation of foreign corrupt practices, including both bribery and money laundering, has emerged as one of the most prominent forms of regulation for multinational enterprises, rivaling competition law. Recent enforcement actions have stretched the limits of traditional legal principles, which allocate regulatory authority based primarily on territoriality and nationality. The new approach amounts to a form of quasi-universal jurisdiction. This approach is typically defended as a way to end impunity for corrupt officials and their accomplices, as well as to protect the human rights of inhabitants of countries burdened with corrupt governments. This lecture will critically examine the new approach, in terms of both effectiveness and legitimacy, and show that the range of situations in which expansive assertions of regulatory authority can be justified is more limited than is commonly understood.
Kevin E. Davis is Vice Dean and Beller Family Professor of Business Law at New York University School of Law. He holds a B.A. in Economics from McGill University, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M. from Columbia University. Before entering academia he served as Law Clerk to Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada and was an associate in the Toronto office of Torys, a Canadian law firm. From 1996-2004 he was an assistant and then an associate professor at the University of Toronto. He also has held visiting positions at the University of Southern California, Cambridge University’s Clare Hall, the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), and the University of Toronto. His research focuses on contract law, quantitative measures of the performance of legal institutions and anti-corruption law.