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Sometimes pursuing a court claim is not the quickest or most effective way to obtain justice, when you have suffered loss or harm as a result of corruption. Court proceedings often take a long time, and are difficult to pursue without the assistance of lawyers. For this reason, court proceedings can also be expensive.
There are a number of alternatives to court litigation which are worth considering.
In the Going to Court section on “Alternatives to PIL: Negotiation and Mediation” we discuss in detail a number of ways to seek to resolve a dispute without the need for court proceedings. These methods of “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) can be very effective for many types of civil claim, but they are often less useful for claims which are based on criminal conduct, such as bribery or other forms of corruption. This is because ADR is the most useful when there is a real prospect of both parties admitting fault and agreeing to compromise in order to settle their differences. However, in most countries corrupt acts are punishable by imprisonment and other serious sanctions, and therefore wrongdoers are very unlikely to be prepared to admit culpability.
There are nonetheless a number of alternatives to court actions which are often useful in the context of corruption. We discuss each of them in turn.
Generally the first step towards obtaining justice when corruption occurs is to report with the corrupt acts. If the wrongdoing was committed by a public official, you could report it
There are advantages of reporting corrupt conduct in this way.
If the wrongdoing was committed by a private person you could report it
Reporting corruption to any of these authorities, so as to initiate an investigation, is only the first step towards justice – but it is often a necessary and important step. The legal responsibility of the wrongdoer generally needs to be formally established, by a court or state agency, before you can seek any remedy.
There are also other avenues to report wrongdoings, though these may not lead to public enforcement processes / public interest litigation.