Lesson Series 29: A Case Study of Good Governance: The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Hong Kong

The Issue

In order for governmental or other agencies to function effectively in promoting and protecting the human rights of all peoples, it is necessary for the agencies to have an independent mandate and structure. Especially in Asian countries, this is both vital as well as rare: in a region where societies are still ‘transitioning’ to genuine democracy, rule of law and the protection of human rights, governments and institutions both tend to be unaccountable and involved in political intrigue. This undermines the tenets of effective institutions and hinders — if not incapacitates — their protection of fundamental human rights.

It is only with institutional independence, adequate resources and accountability that such agencies can undertake their responsibilities effectively. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong is such an organization.

The Lesson

This lesson is based on a presentation made by the ICAC ‘An Independent Anti-Corruption Commission – The Hong Kong Experience,’by Gilbert Chan Tak-Shing, which is attached at the end of the lesson. The presentation covers the reasons for ICAC’s success, namely

1. Institutional independence;
2. Adequate resources; and
3. Accountability.

We thank the ICAC for their permission to use of this presentation.

Lesson 1: Factors relating to the success of the ICAC