Two days ago, the British government issued its long-awaited guidance regarding the application and interpretation of the Bribery Act of 2010. The Act is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, and is intended to modernize the UK's laws on bribery. It contains several provisions addressing passive bribery, active bribery and the bribery of a foreign official, and creates a new offense that can be enforced against an entity that fails to prevent individuals from committing an act of bribery on its behalf. Importantly, the existence of "adequate procedures" to prevent bribery is a complete defense to that charge.
The document, aptly called "Guidance about procedures which relevant commercial organisations can put into place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing" (the Guidance), is intended to respond to the Act's directive that the government provide guidance regarding what will constitute "adequate procedures" to prevent bribery. The Guidance responds to many of the comments and criticisms of the draft that was issued last year.