OECD and IBA Issue Report on Proper Roles of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures

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Friday, June 28, 2019
Bruce Zagaris

On May 31, 2019, the International Bar Association and the Secretariat of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published a Report of the Task Force on the Role of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures. The background to the Report was the publication by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers. Following on from the London Anti-Corruption Summit which took place in May 2016, the OECD and the International Bar Association (IBA) agreed to form a task force to develop professional conduct standards and practice guidance for lawyers involved in establishing and advising on international commercial structures and recommended actions for governments.[4]  As a result of the ICIJ reports, the media has shone a spotlight on offshore commercial structures and the role of lawyers in the establishment and conduct of those structures that may facilitate potentially illegal conduct.  Hence, the media has focused on the alleged conduct and/or responsibility of lawyers and the law firms involved in those structures.