On 8 April 2010, the UK Bribery Act became law. The Act transforms the existing UK anticorruption legislative framework by consolidating many historic statutory provisions but also introducing new offences. It is intended to help tackle the threat bribery poses to economic progress and development around the world by clarifying the law on bribery, introducing a new strict liability offence for corporates and a “no-fault” discrete offence of bribing a foreign official. It will also have a significant impact on foreign companies who do business in the UK and far reaching compliance consequences for many public and private organisations.
The Act will come into force three months after the final version of the Ministry of Justice guidance has been published. The Ministry of Justice has released draft guidance on the “adequate” procedures which commercial organisations will need to put in place. See below for further information on this guidance.
This Act goes beyond the requirements of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and therefore even companies which have controls to meet these requirements, must review these in light of this new legislation.