The Bribery Act 2010 - implementation delayed

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01 February 2011

The decision to delay implementation of the Act follows fierce criticism from many UK businesses and industry groups that the Act is excessive, unclear and will result in UK businesses suffering a competitive disadvantage in the global market.

In broad terms, the Act creates four new offences:

Section 1 - Offering a bribe
Section 2 - Receiving a bribe
Section 6 - Bribing a foreign public official
Section 7 - Failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery

It is this last "corporate offence" which has caused the greatest controversy, primarily because it will impose strict liability on a UK business for the corrupt actions of its agents (in the UK or abroad) unless the business can show that it had "adequate procedures" in place to prevent that corruption.

Notably the Act is also broader in scope than the USA's Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act 1977. In particular, unlike its American counterpart, the Act makes no exception for "facilitation" or "grease" payments.

We will continue to closely monitor developments both in relation to the implementation of the Act and the publication of the guidance.
If you would like any further information, please contact Thomas Webb on +44 (0)117 307 6976 or +44 (0)7794 030 898 or email him, or contact the lawyer at Burges Salmon with whom you usually deal.

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