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Issues in Anti‐Corruption Law: How Can Code of Conduct Laws Be Drafted in Order to Reduce Corruption in a Public Sector like Romania's

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International organisations, like the UN and EU, have encouraged their Member States for years to increase civil servants' compliance with particular codes of conduct. Romania represents probably one of the most advanced countries in attempting to legislate on civil servant ethics through its Code of Conduct Law. Yet, the Romanian Code of Conduct Law possesses significant weaknesses, emanating both from the inherent difficulties of using hard law in a soft law area (like civil servants' ethics) and the Law's silence as to specific procedures, which government agencies should use in implementing the Law. Given these weaknesses, Romanian government agencies should adopt regulatory instruments that compensate for these weaknesses at the legislative level. In this paper, we present the provisions—particularly related to the establishment of agency‐level ethical doctrines—which regulatory drafters can use to implement these codes of conduct in a civil law system without running afoul of the basic requirements of civil law jurisprudence for clarity and predictability. We discuss the legal basis in Romanian administrative law for the elaboration of specific ethics‐related doctrines and the ways in which such a ‘doctrinal approach’ to administrative ethics can help achieve the objectives of the flawed Code of Conduct Law. We specifically discuss the ways in which Romanian governments can adopt such regulatory instruments and the types of provisions that should be included in order to help overcome the flaws of the Code of Conduct Law.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Columbia University, School of International Affairs

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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