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Seeds of systemic corruption in the post-Brexit UK

Lorenzo Pasculli (Department of Law, Kingston University, London, UK and Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, Imperial College London, London, UK)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 2 July 2019




This study aims to assess the risks of systematisation of corruption in the UK following the Brexit referendum.


The study applies theoretical and empirical findings of criminological, social, psychological, economic and legal research on the causes of systemic corruption to the socio-institutional developments following the Leave vote.


The events surrounding the referendum confirm that the resort to corrupt practices is normalised in certain sectors of the British institutions, business and media and that socio-political processes activated by the Leave vote and inadequate UK policymaking and lawmaking can aggravate the situational and socio-psychological enablers of systemic corruption. Effective solutions must go beyond mere anti-corruption laws and address deeper social issues.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses only on some of the major situational and socio-psychological causes of systemic corruption, including the unintended criminogenic effects of the law. More interdisciplinary research is required to address other causes, such as historical and cultural factors.

Practical implications

The findings of this study can inspire practical solutions by policymakers and future research.

Social implications

The study contributes to raising social awareness and stimulating public discussion on systemic corruption in the UK and on the consequences of the referendum on public and private integrity.


The study offers the first systematic analysis of the effects of Brexit and the referendum on corruption through an integrated interdisciplinary approach to systemic corruption in the UK.



Pasculli, L. (2019), "Seeds of systemic corruption in the post-Brexit UK", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 705-718.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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