In our July 2010 update, we reported on the announcement that the Bribery Act 2010 would come into force in April 2011 and that the definitive guidance about procedures which commercial organisations could put in place to prevent bribery would be published in early 2011. The putting into place of such procedures will of course be critical if businesses are to have any defence to the strict liability offence of failing to prevent bribery under section 7 of the Act.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed to us on 1 February 2011 that the publication of that definitive guidance, and as a result the implementation of the Act itself, have been delayed. It confirmed that Ministers are anxious to ensure that the definitive guidance, when published, is clear and that the Ministry is now working on that guidance as a matter of priority. Nevertheless no firm date has been given for the publication of the definitive guidance. The Ministry did however confirm that there would be a minimum of three months between its publication and the implementation of the Act.