Q&As

Am I allowed to pay or receive a commission under anti-bribery legislation?

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Published on LexisPSL on 10/03/2016

The following Practice Compliance Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Am I allowed to pay or receive a commission under anti-bribery legislation?
  • Payment of commissions

Am I allowed to pay or receive a commission under anti-bribery legislation?

Please note, this Q&A only considers UK bribery legislation.

Payment of commissions

We refer you to Practice Note: Commission, which outlines how all commissions constitute the giving of a financial advantage, although they will not necessarily be bribes. The Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010) has a broad interpretation of what may constitute a bribe. It is described as a 'financial or other advantage' given or received in a business context, which constitutes or induces the improper performance of a relevant function or activity. Performance will be ‘improper’ if it breaches a relevant expectation of good faith or impartiality.

The general offences under the BA 2010 therefore will often capture the payment of commission, though this will vary among industry. For example, in the art market, a common practice has been the payment of commission to intermediaries owing a duty of trust to an art collector in

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