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The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July 2011, was drafted against the background of increasing international pressure for a concerted crackdown on bribery and corruption.

This is exemplified by the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, to which the UK signed up in 1998, and the judicial view that "There can be no doubt that corruption of foreign government officials or foreign government ministers is at the top end of serious corporate offending."

While bribery is a crime at common law, and also under various statutes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Bribery Act significantly extends the range of current UK offences. 

Its effect is to demand a culture change, in which no UK business any longer regards the payment of bribes in certain jurisdictions as a regrettable fact of life, but would forego business rather than pay a bribe.

Indeed, in a manner reminiscent of the money laundering legislation, it effectively compels businesses to become self-policing. Going beyond, for example, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it has been said to set a new “gold standard” in anti bribery legislation.


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