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Creation of advisory attorneys group makes easier for public interest whistleblowers...

Date
07-06-2019
Attachments
 

Creation of advisory attorneys group makes easier for public interest whistleblowers to receive legal counseling on anonymous reporting...expenses for such legal service to be also provided

ACRC-KBA signed an MoU for ‘the facilitation of anonymous public interest reporting through advisory attorneys’ on May 31

 

May 31, 2019

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

The Republic of Korea

ACRC-KBA signed an MoU for ‘the facilitation of anonymous public interest reporting through advisory attorneys’ on May 31

From now on, it is expected that anonymous public interest disclosures through advisory attorneys will be more facilitated, as the advisory attorneys group aimed at offering legal services for those who want to be represented by their attorneys to submit public Interest reports without revealing their real names has been established. Expenses required for reporting through attorneys including counseling fees will be provided by the ACRC.

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the facilitation of representative reporting through advisory attorneys with the Korean Bar Association (Chairperson Lee Chan Hee) on May 31, which sets out that the advisory attorneys group shall be operated and that the ACRC shall support those represented by attorneys with expenses incurred for such representative reporting.

The ACRC amended the Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers in order to fundamentally prevent the leakage of personal information of public interest whistleblowers and has introduced the system of representative public interest reporting through counsel on October 18, 2018.

This system allows public interest whistleblowers to hire an attorney to represent him/her for submitting public interest reports so that he/she can disclose corruption and misconduct that infringes on the public interest under the name of the attorney. Under the system, the attorney can represent the whistleblower for the submission of documentary evidence, or even in the process of stating an opinion in the course of investigation.

Despite the introduction of the system, the number of cases submitted by attorneys stood merely at nine over the last seven months due to the financial burden caused by high legal fees, etc. It thus became necessary to come up with measures to facilitate the system. Accordingly, the ACRC came to decide to establish and manage the advisory attorneys group for anonymous public interest disclosures in cooperation with the KBA.

The advisory attorneys group will be comprised of about 50 attorneys, given regions, etc., and the names and email addresses of the advisory attorneys will be publicly available online in the ACRC’s web page.

A Public interest whistleblower will be able to submit an online application for legal counseling on his/her case by email to an advisory attorney, and if he/she determines that reporting the case is necessary, he/she can report to the ACRC through his/her advisory attorney without being worried his/her real name might be revealed.

The costs incurred for both receiving legal counseling services and submitting reports on a representative basis will be directly provided to the advisory attorney concerned by the ACRC.

In addition to this, the ACRC and KBA will cooperate in providing citizens with legal counseling service for the purpose of protecting the civil rights and interest and establishing the mutual cooperative framework for the provision of lawyers, etc. to address matters in relation to the ACRC’s policies and institutional improvement measures.

In addition, to strengthen protection for whistleblowers, the ACRC published Guide for protection of whistleblowers on corruption and public interest infringement and distributed it to corruption and public interest violation reporting agencies such as central administrative agencies, local government agencies, and investigative agencies.

The chairperson Pak Un Jong of the ACRC said, “I expect that the formation of the advisory attorneys group will facilitate anonymous reporting through attorneys, nurturing an environment in which people can feel more relieved without worries about the legal costs when blowing the whistle on corruption and wrongdoing in their daily routine,” adding that “placing a top priority on the protection and support for whistleblowers, the ACRC will continue to spare no efforts to push forward with various relevant policies.”

Attachment

 

Code of Conduct for Whistleblower Protection

 

Code of Conduct for Whistleblower Protection

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission will:

1. Ensure that the identity of a whistleblower will be kept confidential;

1. Protect whistleblowers from any forms of disadvantageous measures caused by blowing the whistle;

1. Take care of whistleblower’s report in a fair and impartial manner according to relevant laws and regulations;

1. Treat whistleblowers with respect as advocates for the public interests;

1. Make an effort to understand difficulties of whistleblowers and promote their rights and interests;

1. Cooperate actively with other public agencies to protect the rights and interests of whistleblowers; and

1. Endeavor to spread a positive image of whistleblowers.

2019. .

Personnel of Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission