If you didn’t already spot the odd one out you obviously don’t know much about British pop culture. But hey, the Bribery Act is relevant to Aussies too.

If you carry on a business in the UK it’s possible to commit a criminal offence under the UK Bribery Act. Unfortunately there is no clear cut definition of what carrying on a business means. The UK authorities will use a common sense approach to decide the meaning of this term in a particular set of circumstances. Generally speaking the Act will apply to organisations that have a demonstrable business presence in the UK. It’s as clear as marmite; here are a couple of examples:

An organisation will probably not be caught by the Act solely on the basis that its securities are on the London Stock Exchange.

Having a UK subsidiary doesn’t in itself mean that the parent company is carrying on a business in the UK. A subsidiary may act independently of its parent or other group companies.

Let’s say you are carrying on business in the UK, what now? Your organisation can commit the offence of failing to prevent bribery regardless of where in the world the offence is committed. And here’s the real kicker: there is a potential unlimited fine.

There haven’t been any prosecutions of this offence yet but we don’t reckon you want to be the first case. If you do have business operations in the UK you can protect yourself by having procedures in place to prevent bribery. There is no need to go overboard though – if there is no risk of bribery on your behalf, then you don’t have to do anything.