British Parliament Passes Bribery Act

Anti-bribery legislation known as the Bribery Act 2010 was passed by the House of Commons on April 8, 2010. It was passed into law the same day upon receiving Royal Assent.

In addition to laying out penalties, the Bribery Act defines bribery, being bribed, and the offense of bribing a foreign public official. In section 7 it introduces a strict liability corporate offense of commercial organizations failing to prevent bribery.

This last offense will require businesses to thoroughly review their policies and procedures as they can only defend themselves from liability from being "associated" with a person if they can demonstrate that they "had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with from undertaking such conduct." An adequate procedures guidance on how to prevent bribery is forthcoming from the Secretary of State.

A number of amendments proposed by the Conservative Party were dropped, but in the course of the Commons debate, Jonathan Djanogly MP said that in the event the Conservatives form the next government, they would explore creating a service to advise businesses on the adequacy of their anti-bribery procedures.

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