Facilitation payments under the Bribery Act 2010
Produced in partnership with Richard Furlong of Carmelite Chambers
Facilitation payments under the Bribery Act 2010

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Richard Furlong of Carmelite Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Facilitation payments under the Bribery Act 2010
  • Facilitating the performance of a duty by public officials
  • Are facilitation payments illegal under BA 2010?
  • Active bribery offences
  • Foreign public official offences
  • Prosecution principles when it comes to facilitation payments
  • SFO policy on facilitation payments

Facilitating the performance of a duty by public officials

Facilitation payments, also known as facilitating or grease payments, are generally small amounts of money paid to public officials or others as a means of ensuring that they perform their duty, whether more promptly or at all. In some jurisdictions such payments are customary and legal (eg they are permitted in certain circumstances by the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (FCPA 1977), see Practice Note: The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (FCPA 1977) and Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010) comparison table).

Are facilitation payments illegal under BA 2010?

Facilitation payments constitute the offering, promising or giving of a financial advantage and amount to bribery, as they are not exempted under BA 2010.

Active bribery offences

Active bribery is explicitly prohibited by the BA 2010. A facilitation payment made directly or indirectly to a public official, an employee of any organisation or business, anyone in or connected with a business, trade or profession, or anyone acting by or on behalf of a corporate or unincorporated body will be illegal provided that the donor knew or believed a reasonable person in the UK would expect that the person receiving the payment had breached the expectation placed in them either by

  1. virtue of being in a position of trust, or

  2. not performing their function or activity in good faith

If this were

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