The new Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July this year, was aimed at preventing companies from making bribes in order to win contracts. Most of the reporting around it to date has focused on how it will lead to a crackdown on corporate hospitality. However, last week saw the first person to be charged under the Act - Munir Yakub Patel, a court clerk, who is alleged to have accepted £500 for fixing a motoring offence. He has been charged under section 2 of the Act which deals with offences relating to being bribed.
The Act has replaced the UK’s bribery laws (consisting of a common law offence of bribery as well as various statutory offences) with four offences:
- bribing another person;
- being bribed;
- bribing a foreign public official; and
- failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribery.
Offences 1-3 can be committed by an individual or a commercial organisation (e.g. company, partnership etc.). Offence 4 can only be committed by a commercial organisation.
More information about the Bribery Act 2010 can be found in our briefing note in our publications section.