The UK Bribery Act 2010 has recently received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force later this year. The Act updates and simplifies the law in the UK on bribery and is seen as representing a modern approach to anti-corruption law.

The Act has potential implications for Irish companies and partnerships carrying on business in the UK. Section 7 of the Act makes companies and partnerships strictly liable for their failure to prevent bribes being paid on their behalf. Significantly, this offence applies not only to UK incorporated companies, but also to companies which carry on a business, or part of a business, in the UK. This means that an Irish company or partnership, which carries on business in the UK, could be liable in the UK for bribery committed by any employee or person who performs services on the company's behalf, anywhere in the world.

It will be a defence for a company or partnership to prove that it had adequate anti-corruption procedures or systems in place. More detail on what "adequate procedures" means is expected to be published in the form of UK Government Guidance, at least three months before the corporate offence comes into force. This will give companies and partnerships an opportunity to take practical steps to prepare.

A full copy of the Act is available below.

Bribery Act 2010 (0.10 MB, Adobe PDF)