Ministry of Justice

Bribery Act 2010

hands exchanging money

The Bribery Act reforms the criminal law to provide a new, modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences that will enable courts and prosecutors to respond more effectively to bribery at home or abroad.

The Act will:

  • provide a more effective legal framework to combat bribery in the public or private sectors
  • replace the fragmented and complex offences at common law and in the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889-1916
  • create two general offences covering the offering, promising or giving of an advantage, and requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting of an advantage
  • create a discrete offence of bribery of a foreign public official
  • create a new offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribe being paid for or on its behalf (it will be a defence if the organisation has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery)
  • require the Secretary of State to publish guidance about procedures that relevant commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery on their behalf
  • help tackle the threat that bribery poses to economic progress and development around the world.

The Bill was published in draft on 25 March 2009 for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament.

The Bill received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010.

On the 20 July 2010 the Government announced that it will launch a short consultation exercise in September 2010 on the guidance about procedures which commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery.

Once the consultation responses have been considered, finalised guidance will be published early in the New Year to allow an adequate familiarisation period before the commencement of the Act, which is planned in April 2011.

Correspondence on the legislation