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Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 (the “Act”) came into force in July 2011 and aims to ensure that the difficult issue of bribery and corruption is tackled more effectively than had previously been the case in the UK.

There are four main offences under the Act:-

  • bribing another person;
  • accepting a bribe;
  • bribery of a foreign public official; and
  • failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery.

The penalties for breach of the Act can be severe, including hefty fines and imprisonment.  However, organisations can reduce their risk of liability by putting in place adequate policies and procedures to deal with bribery and corruption issues.

Key Risks

One of the main effects of the Act is that companies who breach the “failing to prevent bribery” provision will face unlimited criminal fines.  The only defence will be for companies to show that they had “adequate procedures” in place to minimise bribery which will include proving they had effective training in place for employees on anti-corruption and the provisions of the Act.  Therefore, organisations should ensure that they have an anti-bribery and corruption policy in place that clearly sets out employees’ obligations.  Companies should also ensure that employees receive adequate training and understand the implications of failure to comply with the Act.

Further, the offences apply on an extra-territorial basis.  This means that if an individual or business is British or has a significantly close connection to the UK, the Act applies regardless of where the bribery actually takes place. This makes the effective introduction and enforcement of an anti-bribery and corruption policy all the more important.

How we can help…

We regularly advise all sizes of organisation on their obligations under the Act as well as giving advice on the conduct of risk assessments and the effective training of employees in the prevention of corruption and bribery.

We also regularly draft anti-bribery and corruption policies for all types of organisations and assist with reviews of existing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Act.

If you would like to get in touch with our employment team, please contact us on 020 7234 0200 or

Anthony Purvis

Partner, Employment Law

Anthony offers succinct and practical advice to both businesses and individuals on various issues including redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissals claims, unlawful discrimination, grievance and disciplinary procedures, TUPE, staff handbooks, contracts of employment, restrictive covenants and their enforcement, settlement agreements and the employment aspects of corporate reorganisations or sales. Read more...

Matthew Hodson 

Associate, Employment Law

Matthew handles all types of employment matters. He represents and advises employees and employers on issues involving whistleblowing, discrimination, redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissal, TUPE, Working Time Regulations, restrictive covenants and settlement agreements.  Read more...