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the Bribery Act – 3 months and counting

30 March 2011

Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke has announced today that the Bribery Act 2010 will come into force on 1 July 2011.

Clarke tried to dispel the concerns expressed by businesses saying that ‘combating the risks of bribery is largely about common sense, not burdensome procedures’, and that he does not expect a ‘large number of prosecutions’.

The guidance clarifies that ‘bona fide hospitality’ and similar expenses on improving the image of a commercial organisation or establishing ‘cordial relations’ are not intended to be caught by the Act. Facilitation payments will continue to be caught by the Act as they are under previous bribery laws.

The guidance clarifies what is meant by “adequate procedures.” The adequacy of procedures will be considered in accordance with the risk of bribery faced by an organisation in light of its size and type, though other factors will also be relevant.

The guidance will no doubt help businesses to prepare for the Act. How it will ultimately be enforced remains to be seen.

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