Bribery is an act implying money or gift given that alters the behaviour of the recipient. It is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.


The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011.

The Act creates four offences:

  • bribing a person to induce or reward them to perform a relevant function improperly
  • requesting, accepting or receiving a bribe as a reward for performing a relevant function improperly
  • using a bribe to influence a foreign official to gain a business advantage
  • a new form of corporate liability for failing to prevent bribery on behalf of a commercial organisation.

Commercial organisation has a wide meaning and includes partnerships, limited liability partnerships and companies which carry on business.


For a commercial organisation it is a defence to have in place 'adequate procedures' to prevent bribery. This may include implementing anti-bribery procedures. It is important that firms consider what adequate procedures are most appropriate for their firm given the risks they face and they way they run their business. The procedures should be proportionate to the risk posed.

For some firms there will be no need to put bribery prevention procedures in place as there is no risk of bribery on their behalf. Other firms may need to put in place measures in key areas, such as gifts and hospitality, as this is the area where they have identified a risk.


The penalty for individuals is a maximum sentence of 10 years.

For commercial organisations there maybe an unlimited fine.

Created at 8/21/2012 4:43 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 11/2/2016 11:34 AM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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Bribery Act 2010

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