Delayed Bribery Laws prompt an international storm

Delayed Bribery Laws prompt an international storm


The Ministry of Justice may not have taken the full effects of potential backlashes into account when they made the decision to delay the implementation of the Bribery Act 2010.

It is now unlikely that the Act, which was supposed to be made law in May, will be implemented into the British legal system before autumn.  Both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Transparency International, have warned that the delay could cause British firms considerable damage over the upcoming months.

Their warnings come after rumours that US officials and firms are using the delay as political capital in the US, portraying the UK as an unstable and potentially corrupt place to do business, owing to the fact that the UK’s current Bribery Act have not been refreshed or updates for a century.

The matter, which could evolve into an international row between nations, will be discussed between UK and US governments over the next few weeks.

But aside from concern over the delays to the Act, many experts believe that the Act lacks clarity or strength. The CBI said the regulations were ‘not fit for purpose’. 

A few weeks ago when Bridging and Commercial asked lenders and packagers their views on the Act, most agreed with the CBI, adding that the Act would be unlikely to affect them and that it did not adequately define ‘bribe’ in adequate detail.

Jonathon Newman, Brightstone Law LLP, said: “The lines of acceptability are somewhat vague. Each case is fact sensitive and a degree of caution and good sense will need to be applied in each instance.”

The Ministry of Justice is currently drawing up new guidance for firms on the practical applications of what the new laws will mean in practice. However, the guidance may come too late to save the reputation of the Act. 

By Katie-Jill Rowland

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