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Bribery Act Delayed Again

Reports Hint At Further Postponement


The implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 looks set to be hit by a further delay, according to widespread reports.

In July 2010 the Government postponed the coming into force of the act from the intended date in October 2010 to April 2011.  It is now reported that this second date will not be possible.

The Bribery Act 2010 creates 4 offences:

         Bribing another person
         Requesting or agreeing to accept a bribe
         Bribing a foreign public official
         Failing to prevent a person associated with a commercial organisation from bribing another person for the commercial advantage of that organisation (the corporate offence)

If a corporation commits any of the first three offences with the consent or connivance of a senior officer that senior officer is personally guilty of an offence.  Corporations will be criminally liable for the acts of their employees, subsidiaries, agents and joint venture partners. 

The corporate offence will be tried in the UK wherever in the world the act of bribery occurs.  The corporate offence is committed even if the associated person carrying out the act of bribery is not tried or convicted.

It is understood that the Government wishes to give businesses a notice period of three months to implement guidance on the Act which is due to be published by the MoJ.  The guidance will relate to the defence for the corporate offence. 

The MoJ is currently in the process of drafting the guidance however there is no date set for when it will be published.  It is expected that there will be widespread international and national pressure for the Government to ensure that any delay is minimised.

Earlier this year Kevin Robinson, business crime partner at Irwin Mitchell, commented here that it would be unthinkable for major revisions to be made to the Act at this late stage.

The MoJ undertook a consultation process with parties set to be affected by the Act in September 2010.  No official MoJ statement has yet been made regarding the possible delay.