Companies need to be on the alert: the Bribery Act came into force on 4 July 2011 with no ‘grace period’.
Strict new rules have reformed the antiquated UK laws and clamp down on the bribery of public officials and corporate executives. Philip Wild, a partner in the Company & Commercial Department at Kidd Rapinet’s London office says: “We are concerned that a lot of companies haven’t really cottoned on to the introduction of this new Act.”
Individuals found to be in breach of the new rules could face up to 10 years in prison, with their company risking an unlimited fine if it fails to prevent bribery. Legal experts have warned there is just one statutory defence against firms being prosecuted – to show the company has ‘adequate procedures’ to prevent bribery – and that rules will be enforced immediately.
Philip Wild comments: “Companies must be aware that putting in place procedures to ensure compliance with the Act will take time. They need to act as soon as possible, or they could find themselves in an awkward situation pretty rapidly.”
If you feel you may need advice, Kidd Rapinet can advise you on the latest law in this field. Call Philip Wild on 020 7024 8029 for further information.