Going Against the Grain: When Private Rules Shouldn’t Apply to Public Institutions (forthcoming)

Going Against the Grain: When Private Rules Shouldn’t Apply to Public Institutions (forthcoming)



This piece analyzes the institutional challenges and tensions generated by applying the privately-produced International Financial Reporting Standards to the financial reporting practices of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) an inter-governmental organization, and specialized agency of the United Nations.  The authors question whether the application of the Standards is carried out in the interest of the organization or whether it is rather a product of pressure, both external and internal, to adopt rules that reflect a particular understanding of what constitutes “best practice”.  The authors draw attention to the fact that best practices often become benchmarks for a wide range of institutions, notwithstanding fundamental institutional differences.  They argue that the adoption of externally-generated rules must be pursued in a systematically cautious, coordinated, and critical manner in order to avoid producing practices that run against the very grain of a public institution’s constitution and mandate.  They also argue that robust governance structures are necessary to avoid institutional digressions.



Rutsel Martha

Dr Rutsel Martha currently serves as the General Counsel, or Director of Legal Affairs, for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome (Italy). He is also a Visiting Professor of Law for the National University of Singapore. Dr. Martha has an extensive background in rule of law, having previously worked as General Counsel for the INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) in Lyon (France) as well as Counselor for the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund. He has served as the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as the Minister Plenipotentiary within the Netherlands Permanent Representation to the European Union. Earlier in his career, he was engaged as an adjunct Professor of Law in the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington D.C., and has lectured Law in the University of the Netherlands Antilles. Dr. Martha has published extensively in public international law, international economic law and European Union Law.


Sarah Dadush

Ms Sarah Dadush serves as Counsel at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome. She is also a member of the Rome-based faculty of Loyola University Chicago’s PROLAW LL.M. Program where she teaches the Architecture of International Development. Prior to joining IFAD, she was a Fellow at the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law, where she administered the Financing Development Program. Earlier in her career she practiced law in a global law firm.