Failing to prevent bribery
Failing to prevent bribery

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Failing to prevent bribery
  • Corporate criminal liability for bribery—section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010
  • The adequate procedures defence (section 7 defence)
  • Ministry of Justice guidance on adequate procedures
  • SFO guidance on evaluating compliance programmes
  • The duty on a commercial organisation to report a section 7 breach
  • Sentence for failing to prevent bribery offences
  • Failure to prevent bribery prosecutions—in practice
  • SFO v Sweett Group PLC
  • Brand-Rex Limited
  • More...

Corporate criminal liability for bribery—section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010

This offence can only be committed by relevant commercial organisations (RCOs), not individuals. RCOs are:

  1. bodies incorporated, or partnerships formed, under the law of any part of the UK that carry on a business anywhere, ie within the UK or elsewhere, or

  2. bodies incorporated, or partnerships formed, anywhere that carry on any business in the UK

A business includes a trade or profession.

An RCO will be guilty of failing to prevent bribery if a person associated with it bribes another person with the intention of obtaining or retaining business or business advantage for the RCO.

The term ‘business advantage’ is not defined, however it might include being placed on a preferred suppliers list or being given eligibility to tender for contracts.

A person associated with the RCO is someone who performs a service for or on behalf of that organisation. In this regard:

  1. such a person may be natural or corporate

  2. the capacity in which the service is performed is irrelevant

  3. the person may be, for example, an employee, agent or subsidiary

  4. employees are presumed to be performing services for employer RCOs, and

  5. in other cases, whether persons perform services will be determined in all the circumstances and not just the nature of the relationship

The bribery committed by such an associated person and forming the grounds of

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