The Bribery Act 2010 is a law enacted in the UK to combat business bribery and corruption. In simpler terms, companies have to ensure they don’t offer money, gifts or anything of value to obtain or retain business or gain an unfair advantage. Organisations must comply with its provision, and the penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

In this blog, we will cover what the Bribery Act 2010 entails, who enforces it, and who it applies to. We will also explain the six principles of the Bribery Act, the ten key points, and the different types of offences that occur under this act. Lastly, we will review the penalties for failing to comply with the act’s provisions. So, if you want to ensure your business remains ethical and compliant with UK law, keep reading.

What is the Bribery Act 2010?

What is the Bribery Act 2010?

The United Kingdom’s Parliament passed the Bribery Act 2010, which governs the penal code’s bribery-related provisions. Following decades of reports and draught legislation, the act was finally presented to Parliament in the Queen’s Speech in 2009. With backing from all parties, it was given the Royal Assent on 8 April 2010.

The date of implementation was altered from April 2010 to 1 July 2011. By replacing them with the crimes of bribery, being bribed, bribery of foreign public officials, and failure of a small business organisation to prohibit bribery on its behalf, the act repeals all prior statute and common law provisions relating to bribery.

Who Enforces the Bribery Act 2010?

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been actively enforcing the UKBA against businesses, especially since 2017 (see below table of UK Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) about bribery charges). As a result, the UKBA has a pervasive jurisdictional reach.

Who Does the Bribery Act 2010 Apply to?

Who Does the Bribery Act 2010 Apply to?

The Bribery Act 2010 applies to all foreign or domestic companies and targets individuals who offer bribes in exchange for business. It includes offences of paying or receiving a bribe and bribery of a foreign public official. In addition, the Act makes it a corporate governance offence for a business to fail to prevent bribery.

Senior officers enforce the Bribery Act 2010, and those found in violation may face heavy penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Therefore, all individuals and private limited companies need to be aware of the provisions of this act to ensure legal compliance and ethical business practices.

6 Principles of the Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act of 2010 is one of the most comprehensive legislation to prevent corporate culture bribery. Under the Act, commercial organisations must have procedures to prevent bribery.

The six principles of the Bribery Act include proportionality, top-level commitment, risk assessment, due diligence, communication, and monitoring and review. The Act has significantly impacted the corporate culture of the United Kingdom, and it is considered the international “gold standard” for anti-bribery legislation.

Practice notes are also available for those wanting to understand the issue more deeply. Companies must ensure their employees are familiar with the principles of the Act and the components required of it.

Section 7 Bribery Act

The Bribery Act 2010 relates to the business organisations’ inability to stop bribery. Suppose a member of a commercial organisation bribes someone else to gain or keep their business or a competitive advantage throughout that business proposal. In that case, the organisation will be subject to legal action.

As mentioned above, if a commercial organisation can demonstrate that, despite a specific instance of bribery, it has enough policies to stop anyone connected to it from bribing, it will have a full defence. According to recognised case law, the business organisation would need to meet the burden of proof, or balance of probabilities, to establish its defence if it were to face prosecution.

Facilitation Payments Uk Bribery Act

Bribes are a facilitation payment and should be regarded as such. A typical instance is when a public servant receives cash or products to carry out (or expedite the execution of) an existing task.

How Many Offences in Bribery Act 2010?

How Many Offences in Bribery Act 2010?

The main offences are,

  • A crime of bribery against another person
  • The crime of accepting bribes
  • Bribery of foreign public authorities is a crime
  • Corporate crime of bribery prevention failure

If a commercial organisation, or a person connected to it, engages in bribery to win or keep business or otherwise benefit from it, they may be guilty of an offence. But, this situation has a defence: the organisation implements sufficient anti-bribery measures. Senior officers of an organisation are likewise subject to liability when that organisation violates the law.

What Are the Penalties Under the UK Bribery Act 2010?

A violation of the Act is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, an unlimited fine, the possibility of property confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and the potential for director disqualification under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. The Act provides nearly global jurisdiction, making it possible to prosecute a person or business with ties to the UK regardless of where the offence occurred. The “toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world” is how some have characterised it.


The Bribery Act 2010 outlines a set of legal provisions to protect the integrity of the public service system and commercial dealings across the UK. The Serious Fraud Office enforces it and applies to all individuals and organisations operating in or connected to the UK.

By following the six principles of the Bribery Act, companies can create an environment free of corruption and bribery. It is important to be aware of the key points of the act, including section 7 of the Bribery Act and the facilitation payments UK Bribery Act, and understand the penalties and potential outcomes of non-compliance.

FAQ – Bribery Act 2010

FAQ - Bribery Act 2010

What is Bribery Act 2010 money laundering?

The Bribery Act of 2010 is a UK anti-corruption law that criminalises the failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery. This law has significantly impacted corporate culture in the UK, including core offenses of paying or receiving a bribe and bribing a foreign public official. The provision regarding the corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery is a key feature of the Bribery Act. This law was introduced ten years ago to promote greater accountability and transparency in business practices.

What are the 5 Risks Bribery Act?

  • Risk of becoming a target for bribery
  • Risk of circumventing anti-corruption measures
  • Risk of conducting bribery without the knowledge of senior management
  • Risk of sanctions from foreign authorities
  • Risk of public scrutiny and reputational damage

Is bribery an AML offence?

Yes, bribery is considered an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) offence. This includes offering or receiving financial department advantages or other advantages for performing functions of a public nature, business, employment, or other improper behavior. The UK has set performance expectations for companies and individuals, and failure to follow these standards, even outside the country, can lead to legal consequences.

To prevent bribery, companies must make ethical considerations in all their business decisions, and a section 7 offence exists to hold them accountable. Accordingly, the Board should ensure the company follows high standards in all its activities to avoid AML violations.

What are the types of bribery?

  • Under the Bribery Act 2010, there are four main types of bribery:
  • Offering or receiving a bribe.
  • Bribing a foreign public official.
  • Failing to prevent bribery and the improper performance of a function or activity.

Bribing occurs when a financial or other business benefit is offered to induce someone to perform improperly. The Act also criminalises the improper performance of any public function or employer activity. In addition, the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery is also included in the Act, making it a crime for companies to prevent bribery by their employees or associates.

What is qualified bribery?

Qualified bribery refers to the improper performance of a function or activity which violates the expectation of good faith, trust, or impartiality. The Bribery Act 2010 outlines several core offences related to bribery, including paying or receiving a bribe and bribery of foreign public officials. In addition, the Law Commission recommends that companies implement ethical decision-making processes to prevent bribery.

Legal requirements such as those outlined in the British Nationality Act 1981 and the Bribery Act 2010 must be followed to prevent bribery. For example, an offence under section 7 of the Bribery Act requires a general offence of corruption to have taken place.

What are the three elements of bribery?

The Bribery Act criminalises the offering, promising or giving of a financial or another advantage to induce improper performance of a relevant function or activity. In addition, bribing a foreign public official is a separate offence under the Act. Moreover, there is a corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery from obtaining or retaining business or a business advantage, which carries strict liability.

These elements of bribery present significant risks for companies, directors, and individuals, highlighting the importance of having strong anti-bribery policies and systems in place. All of the details of the Bribery Act 2010, including the core offenses of paying or receiving a bribe, bribery of a foreign public official, and enforcement of the Act, can be found in official resources.

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