We have reported previously on the consultation launched by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on guidance about procedures that commercial organisations should put in place to prevent bribery.
The City of London Law Society (CLLS), on 8 November 2010, published its response to the consultation. One of the CLLS' key concerns with the approach adopted in the draft guidance is the failure to provide any guidance on the procedures that are expected for an organisation to be able to rely on the defence in section 7(2) of the Act, that the company had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent bribery. The CLLS acknowledges that the offences created by the Act are widely drawn. As a result, the Act outlaws conduct that would be permitted and lawful in many other countries. The CLLS considers that there is tacit recognition of this in the MoJ's consultation, which states that prosecutorial discretion will be exercised with a "degree of flexibility in order to ensure the just and fair operation of the Act". However, the CLLS believes that this is an unsatisfactory approach. To provide the level of certainty required, it is essential that adequate guidance is given on the procedures.
To view the CLLS response, please go to http://www.citysolicitors.org.uk/FileServer.aspx?oID=872&lID=0.