Government Affairs

UK House of Lords Committee to Review Bribery Act

The United Kingdom (UK) House of Lords has appointed members of the chamber to be part of a new ad hoc committee to conduct a review of the UK Bribery Act. Lord Mark Saville of Newdigate will chair the committee, which consists of 12 members. The committee is scheduled to finish and submit its report by 31 March 2019.

According to the report of the House of Lords Liaison Committee on New ad hoc Committees in 2018-19, the primary focus of the committee will be to review whether the Act has “led to stricter prosecution of corrupt conduct, a higher conviction rates, and possibly a reduction in such conduct.” The committee will also review the “awareness of the Act amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs).” Finally, the committee is encouraged to consider the Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) “as they affect bribery with the need for an express mention in the terms of reference” in relation to the Act.

Lord Saville has stated that the first task of the committee will be to seek input from companies on the Act. As of the time of publication of this article, the committee had not yet released its call for evidence. The committee is scheduled to hold a private meeting on Tuesday, 12 June 2018.

The UK Bribery Act outlines activity which is construed as bribery involving companies and individuals in the UK as well as the overseas activities of companies and individuals residing or operating in the UK.  The Act applies to both those entities giving as well as receiving a bribe which entails providing improper service to an entity in exchange for financial or other benefit. It holds companies responsible for not only their actions but also those of its employees and related parities acting on its behalf. The maximum penalties for breaking the Bribery Act is 10 years in jail and a financial fine with no limit.

The UK Bribery Act of 2010 received formal approval on 8 April 2010 and came into effect on 1 July 2011. The Act is viewed as the toughest law in the world on anti-bribery.

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