Civil Law Convention on Corruption

(ETS No. 174)

Open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe, the non-member States which have participated in its elaboration as well as the European Union, in Strasbourg, on 4 November 1999.

Entry into force : 1 November 2003.

Summary of the treaty

It is the first attempt to define common international rules in the field of civil law and corruption.

It requires Contracting Parties to provide in their domestic law "for effective remedies for persons who have suffered damage as a result of acts of corruption, to enable them to defend their rights and interests, including the possibility of obtaining compensation for damage" (art.1).

The Convention is divided into three chapters, they cover: measures to be taken at national level, international co-operation and monitoring of implementation) and final clauses. In ratifying the Convention, the States undertake to incorporate its principles and rules into their domestic law, taking into account their own particular circumstances.

The Convention deals with :

compensation for damage;
- liability (including State liability for acts of corruption committed by public officials);
- contributory negligence: reduction or disallowance of compensation, depending on the circumstances;
- validity of contracts;
- protection of employees who report corruption;
- clarity and accuracy of accounts and audits;
- acquisition of evidence;
- court orders to preserve the assets necessary for the execution of the final judgment and for the maintenance of the status quo pending resolution of the points at issue;
- international co-operation.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) will monitor commitments entered into under the Convention by the States Party. The Convention is open to Council of Europe member States, to non-member States which took part in drawing it up (Belarus, Canada, the Holy See, Japan, Mexico and the United States of America) as well as to the European Union.