Active bribery, passive bribery and bribing foreign public officials
Produced in partnership with Joanne Kane of Carmelite Chambers
Active bribery, passive bribery and bribing foreign public officials

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Joanne Kane of Carmelite Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Active bribery, passive bribery and bribing foreign public officials
  • Active bribery
  • Passive bribery
  • General matters relating to active and passive bribery
  • Bribery of a foreign public official
  • Definitions relating to bribing a foreign public official
  • Matters relevant to all three offences

The purpose of this Practice Note is to provide a general understanding of the offences under section 1, 2 and 6 of the Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010). It does not cover the new offence of a commercial organisation failing to prevent bribery; as to this see Practice Note: Failing to prevent bribery.

None of the offences are retrospective, and for all conduct before the entry into force of BA 2010, the old law will apply. BA 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011.

The new offences are based on an improper performance test. Corporate hospitality, gifts etc may therefore all constitute offences if they are excessive in their context and give rise to a suspicion of dishonesty. Guilt will be a question of fact and degree, and prosecution will be dependent on prosecutorial discretion.

Active bribery

This term refers to the offence committed by the party that promises or gives the bribe. There are two types of offence:

  1. case 1 offence—offering, promising or giving a financial or other advantage to someone intending to induce that person or another to perform a relevant function or activity improperly, or intending to reward that person or another for performing a relevant function or acting improperly. It is not relevant whether the person to whom the advantage is offered, promised or given is the