The effect of the new Bribery Act will be felt for the first time two months after coming into force, albeit in a different way than many most anticipated. A clerk at Redbridge Magistrates Court has been charged with accepting a £500 bribe to prevent a motoring offence being registered on a legal database.

Section 2(1) of the Bribery Act, which became law on 1 July this year, states that a person is guilty of an offence if they request, agree to receive, or accept a financial or other advantage intending that a relevant function or activity should be performed improperly. However, much of the focus on the new piece of legislation has been in relation to its potential impact on the way businesses generate new work.

The man will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 14 October 2011. Should the individual be found guilty, there will likely be a lot of interest in the sentence handed down, which may factor in the need to deter others from participating in bribery.