LAWPUBL 467 - Anti-Corruption and Democracy

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: Summer School
Contact hours: Lectures - 6 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Tim Kuhner
Prerequisite: LAW 201, 211

Course description

The global significance of corruption and its implications for self-government are explored within the context of twenty-first century challenges—including rising economic and political inequality, illiberal populism, and ecological crisis. This course asks whether anti-corruption law can help respond to democracy’s vulnerabilities and decline. It examines current economic and political trends, anti-corruption law domestically and internationally, and the potential for enhancing the law to better-protect political integrity.

Course objectives

This course is for students who have already gained a foundational understanding of law & society, public law, and criminal law. Building on those foundations, this course explores the meanings of democracy and corruption in domestic and international law, and the possibility for legal reforms to produce and protect good government. The first part of the course sets the foundation for our time together by examining general definitions of democracy, definitions of corruption, and worrisome trends connected to both—including high levels of wealth concentration, rising illiberal populism, and the failure of governments to mitigate climate change. The second part of the course discusses the prevention and criminalization of corrupt acts and the enforcement of those legal provisions. This part begins with domestic law, moves on to a  sample of regional treaties, and ends with a detailed examination of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The third and final part of the course discusses “pressure points” (or potential growth areas) in anti-corruption law that have major implications for democratic integrity. Those areas include conflicts of interest, lobbying, campaign and party finance, and corporate corruption.  


  • 2 x 300 word reflection pieces (10%)
  • 2 x multiple-choice quizzes (20%)
  • 2 hour open-book exam (70%)
Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Learning resources

Course book

It is strongly recommended that you purchase a physical copy of the course book, particularly as the exam is open book.

Recommended Text

There is no prescribed text, but this free book is recommended: Gerry Ferguson, Global Corruption: Law, Theory, and Practice (3rd ed., 2018), available at