The gift that keeps on giving

Tyler W. Hodgson (Borden Lander Gervais LLP, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Publication date: 5 October 2012



Various countries have recently passed anti‐corruption and bribery laws that have international jurisdictional reach. The overlapping jurisdiction of these “long arm” statutes presents the real possibility that an offender can be twice prosecuted for the same conduct, as recently demonstrated in the case of US v. Jeong. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the difference of approach between various nations in their understanding and application of the doctrine of international double jeopardy.


This paper explores the profound divergence in the application of the doctrine of double jeopardy in an international context, primarily by comparing and contrasting two representative jurisdictions on the subject, Canada and the USA.


The dividing line between the approach to international double jeopardy by common law nations is the doctrine of dual sovereignty. Jurisdictions which have not adopted the dual sovereignty doctrine (such as Canada) are more likely to view a prior verdict from a foreign court as a bar any further prosecution for the same offence; by contrast, countries that have adopted the dual sovereignty doctrine (such as the UA) are less likely to view a previous foreign conviction or acquittal as a bar to further prosecution.

Practical implications

In negotiating a global settlement for acts of corruption or bribery, no finality can be achieved unless and until a resolution is reached with dual sovereignty jurisdictions.


This paper is of value to any individual or multi‐national concern that operates in more than one jurisdiction, as it outlines the potential dangers associated with reaching a premature global settlement for acts of bribery and corruption.



Hodgson, T. (2012), "The gift that keeps on giving", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 326-331.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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