United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Bribery Act

The Bribery Act 2010 is an anti-corruption law of the United Kingdom. It was adopted on April 2010 and entered into force on 1 July 2011.

This law, which is applicable worldwide, is one of the strictest anti-corruption laws and, above all, penalises corruption abroad. Natural persons as well as companies can be penalised if an instance of corruption has occurred in connection with their activities and if said person or company neglected to prohibit this act by introducing adequate provisions for fighting corruption (e.g. a compliance system). Whistleblowing systems are explicitly mentioned as an appropriate measure (Guidance to the Bribery Act 2010, pages 22 and 23).

Companies must also address the issue of invitations and gifts and take appropriate measures, such as ensuring the systems used are adequate and proportionate. Depending on the industry and the nature and extent of the gift, invitations or gifts to business partners may be inadmissible if they are intended to induce behaviour that does not conform to good faith and impartiality.

In the event of liability, companies can exonerate themselves if adequate preventive measures can be demonstrated. This may include comprehensive processes, risk management, business partner due diligence and training on the topic of compliance.