The Bribery Act 2010 and changes will it bring about

The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 brings about a reform to the criminal law in order to provide a new, modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences that will enable courts and prosecutors to respond more effectively to cases of bribery.

What is meant by bribery?

Bribery is an act where some form of incentive is provided to an individual or company, in most cases monetary, in order for them to undertake a particular act.

It has been common practice for many UK companies to provide money to foreign officials in order to facilitate business transactions abroad. This is seen as a form of bribery.

When did the Bribery Act receive royal assent?

The Bribery Act received royal assent on the 8th April 2010.

What changes are brought about by the Bribery Act 2010?

The main changes brought about by the Act are as follows:

      To provide an effective legal framework to combat bribery in the public or private sectors

  • Replace the complex system of offences at common law and in the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889-1916
  • Creating two general offences covering the offering, promising or giving of an advantage, and requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting an advantage
  • Creating an offence of bribery of a foreign public official
  • Creating a new offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribe being paid for or on its behalf
  • Requiring the Secretary of State to publish guidance about procedures that relevant commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery on their behalf
  • Helping to tackle the threat that bribery poses to economic progress and development around the world

What are the specific offences under the Bribery Act?

The specific offences under the Bribery Act can be split into the following categories:

  •       Offence of bribing another person
  •       Offences relating to being bribed
  •       Offence of bribery of a foreign public official
  •       Offence of failure to prevent bribery

Offence of bribing another person

This offence is concerned with the conduct of the individual making the payment as part of the bribe. In this case the payer must be shown to have given, offered or promised an advantage to the recipient with the intention to induce the recipient to perform a relevant function or activity improperly or to reward the recipient for such conduct.

Does the offer or promise have to be done directly?

In order to prove this offence the offer or promise can be made directly by the individual involved or through a third party.

Does the person who the advantage is offered to have to be the same person to perform the required function?

In order for this offence to be proven it is immaterial as to whether the person who is offered the advantage is the same person who is intended to perform the function.

Offences relating to being bribed

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For more information on:

  • Does it matter how the recipient received the benefit?
  • Does the benefit have to be intended for that person or for another?
  • Offence of bribery of a foreign public official
  • Offence of failure to prevent bribery
  • Is there any defence for a company when charged with the fourth offence?
  • Will this defence apply in all scenarios?
  • Have there been any criticisms of the Act?
  • What are the positives to take from the Act?