What is Bribery?

Bribery is a benefit, financial or otherwise, that is given or received with the intention of inducing a person to perform their job improperly, or reward them for doing so. The ‘intention’ to bribe is key, as is the ‘improper performance’; it is not an offence to reward someone for performing a function or activity if they are performing it correctly.

Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 received Royal assent in April 2010 but has yet to come into force.

It is intended to codify and simplify the existing law on bribery, in addition to creating a new offence. The Act contains four offences:

  • General offences – The general offences of bribery occur when an individual either offers or accepts a bribe
  • Bribery of a public official – This offence occurs when a person bribes a foreign official in order to influence them, or obtain or retain business
  • Failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery – A commercial organisation will be guilty of this offence if they fail to prevent an employee offering or accepting a bribe on its behalf

The offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery is a new offence introduced by the Bribery Act 2010. Commercial organisations need to assess their bribery and anti-corruption policies and procedures to ensure they can take advantage of the defence to this offence. An organisation will have a defence if it can show that it had proper procedures in place to prevent bribery.

Commercial organisations are advised to contact a commercial solicitor in order to ensure they have the correct policies in place to avoid being prosecuted under the Bribery Act 2010 for the actions of an employee. The penalty for this offence is an unlimited fine.

How can a solicitor help?

A commercial solicitor can advise a client on how to prepare for the implementation of the Bribery Act 2010.

In addition, if an individual is charged with bribery, they will require a criminal law solicitor to defend them, as the penalty is a maximum of ten years in prison.

Contact Law works with commercial solicitors throughout the UK - call us on 0800 1777 162 or fill in the web-form opposite to talk to one of our advisors.

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