White Paper


The White Paper Series is built around researching questions of law and development, and will result in student-generated documents that will be both posted on our website (or published through another venue) and shared with the development community at large. Working on the White Paper presents students with the opportunity to build research and writing skills and substantive knowledge on the practice and theory of development. At the same time, it allows LIDS to develop its institutional knowledge and find a voice in the wider conversation around law and development.

Students interested in participating on the White Paper participate in the same application and recruitment process as students interested in working on Projects. When available, details will be posted on LIDS Live.

If you are a development practitioner and have noticed a particular common challenge faced by your organization and others, we welcome suggestions for white papers. Please contact Elizabeth Loftus and Sam Datlof with any ideas.

2014-2015 White Paper

Global Corruption and the Freedom of Information Act: Exploring the development of a legal toolkit to reduce bribery in “demand-side” countries

The 2014-2015 White Paper will explore the possibility of a legal strategy proposed by contributors to Professor Mathew Stephenson’s Global Anticorruption Blog. Ignacio A. Boulin Victoria, LLM ’14, and Richard Messick (formerly of the World Bank) propose that civil society groups in the U.S. use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to extract the names or evidence thereof, of the corrupt government officials in the bribery’s “demand-side” country, from the SEC and the DOJ. The names and information would then be passed to anticorruption civil society in the demand-side country to put pressure on prosecutors to bring a case. The project group at HLS will play the role of both researcher and coordinator. As researchers, the team will explore the legal viability of using FOIA in this way, and perhaps build a “legal toolkit” for U.S.-based attorneys who actually want to test this plan. The team will also coordinate the efforts of partner teams in demand-side countries who will evaluate the legal impact of civil society groups pressuring prosecutors to bring cases against corrupt officials. Additionally, both teams will explore the reverse of this process: sending evidence of corrupt acts to prosecutors and activists in developed countries in order to spur more supply-side prosecutions. Finally, the LIDS team will compile and publish the White Paper.

Past White Papers

2013-2014: Comparative Study of Inclusion in Early Childhood Education

For the 2013-2014 White Paper, LIDS partnered with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD). The student team, led by Meredith Langi and Jodie Liu under the direction of Professor Alford and Dr. Cui Fengming, conducted a comparative study of inclusion in early childhood education. HPOD’s work includes advising governments, disabled persons organizations, and other actors in Asia on legal and policy issues related to inclusion in early childhood education. LIDS students assisted HPOD by researching best practices, especially (but not exclusively) in developing nations on three interrelated topics. They were: (1) the legal, economic and social rationale for inclusive early education; (2) the rights and roles of parents of children with disabilities in determining their schooling; and (3) how responsibilities for early childhood education are divided between state and society, and, within governments, between various entities.

2012-2013Access to Remedies for Public Harm Caused by Foreign Public Bribery: Proposals for Legal Reform in the U.S.

The 2013-2014 White Paper, entitled “Access to Remedies for Public Harm Caused by Foreign Public Bribery: Proposals for Legal Reform in the U.S.,” investigates compensation options for corporate public bribery, with a particular focus on the harm faced by the public in developing countries. The paper spotlights the proposition that remedies for this type of public harm should be provided by the home states of the corporate perpetrators. After examining the current international and American legal frameworks on corruption, the paper explores two ideas for promoting more robust victim’s compensation under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The first idea considers mechanisms for redistributing the fines collected from FCPA violations and the second considers an amendment to the FCPA to include a private right of action for foreign plaintiffs. The team was led by Maryum Jordan and Delphia Lim and consisted of the following students from Harvard Law School and the Fletcher School: Kwabena Acheampong, David Donatti , Patrick Kibbe, Jose Vicente Santos de Mendonca, and Melanie Reed.

This White Paper was accepted for publication by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice magazine. Criminal Justice is published quarterly for the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section–members include defense and prosecution lawyers, judges, and academics. The published White Paper is available in the Fall 2013 edition.

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