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Representative reporting by lawyers introduced to protect whistleblowers’ identities

Date
16-04-2018
Attachments
 

Press Release

EMB000019240624

▪ April 16, 2018 2 pages

▪ No embargo

Public Relations Div.

(T) 82-44-200-7071~7073, 7078

(F) 82-44-200-7911

Written by

Public Interest Whistleblowing Inspection & Policy Division

Director 82-44-200-7751

Deputy Director 82-44-200-7752

   
 

“Disclosure of Public Interest Reporters’ Identities to be Thoroughly Blocked through the System of Representative Reporting by Lawyers”

The ACRC will promulgate the revised Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers on April 17, which introduced a new provision of representative reporting by lawyers and reinforced a provision of charges for compelling compliance

 

  • It will be made possible for public interest reporters to submit documents or make a statement of opinion as well as file a report through lawyers, thereby strengthening the protection of confidentiality of the public interest reporters. In addition, the ceiling on charges for compelling compliance imposed on a person who fails to take protective measures for public interest reporters subjected to disadvantageous measures will be raised.

 

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Right Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) announced on April 16 that the revised Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers that provides for the aforementioned will be promulgated on April 17.

 

  • Starting from October this year when the revised Act becomes effective, public interest reporters will be able to file a report on public interest violations through lawyers whom they appoint to represent them without having to disclose their real names. The lawyers can also submit relevant documents or make a statement of opinion on behalf of the public interest reporters. Furthermore, the names of lawyers, instead of those of public interest reporters ,will be entered in documents related to the inspection or investigation of the case concerned, thereby precluding the possibility of disclosure of reporters’ identities in the first place.

 

Upon the receipt of reports, the ACRC puts the seal on the documents containing personal information of reporters and the letter of attorney and keeps them sealed in a safe place. The personal information can be seen only if there is consent from the reporter who wants to receive protection or support, etc.

 

On top of this, the ceiling on charges for compelling compliance imposed on a person who fails to take protective measures for public interest reporters will be raised from the current KRW 20 million to KRW 30 million.

 

Along with this, the Act has been revised in a way that charges for compelling compliance, which could not be imposed after two years elapse, can be levied until the protective measures are taken so that the effectiveness of protective measures can be strengthened.

 

  • Meanwhile, the ACRC announced that the revised Act stipulating the provisions of punitive damages, a provision which requires payment of damages of up to three times the loss that public interest whistleblowers suffered, emergency relief funds, and the shift of burden of proof, a provision which requires a person who takes disadvantageous measures to prove the legitimacy of such disadvantageous measures, will be in force on May 1.

 

  • A Deputy Director General for Reports Inspection of the ACRC, Kim Jae Soo said “through the revision of the Act, concerns about disclosure of identities that caused potential reporters to hesitate to report have been significantly reduced, and the implementation effectiveness of protective measures for reporters has been strengthened. I expect internal whistleblowing, which plays a crucial role in protecting public interests, will be facilitated to a great extent.”