Does your organisation do business in the UK or hope to do business with the UK in the future?

The UK Bribery Act creates a strict liability offence for corporates and partnerships of failing to prevent bribery occurring within the organisation. The only defence is if the corporate had put in place “adequate procedures” designed to stop incidences of corruption.

The UK Bribery Act came into force on 8 April 2010. Norton Rose's Business Ethics and Anti-Corruption Group has prepared a publication entitled "UK Bribery Act: Ten things you should know". It can be accessed here.

The UK Bribery Act has extra territorial effect. The offence of failing to prevent bribery applies to conduct outside the UK provided that an organisation carries on a business, or part of a business, within the UK. This means that an Australian company can commit the offence of failing to implement “adequate procedures” to stop corruption in relation to the systems it has in place in a foreign country. The conduct itself does not need to be in any way connected with the UK.

If your organisation does business in the UK or hopes to do so, we recommend that you consider the adequacy of its procedures designed to stop corruption. This includes reviewing the following:

  • its Code of Conduct
  • its anti corruption supervisory and reporting lines
  • its communications and training in relation to bribery
  • its due diligence - selection and appointment of third parties (the failure to implement adequate procedures offence extends to associated parties)
  • its due diligence - mergers and acquisition
  • its whistle blowing systems
  • its remuneration structures
  • its implementation of any policies on gifts and corporate hospitality (not just in respect of foreign public officials)
  • its disciplinary procedures
  • its investigation protocols.