Bribery Compliance

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Bribery Compliance Lawyers

Our regulatory lawyers are experienced in advising businesses on bribery issues and representing individuals who are facing allegations of bribery and corruption. We have provided training on bribery laws and compliance issues to accountants and other lawyers.

The Bribery Act introduced new bribery offences, as a result of international pressure on the UK to introduce tougher laws. An allegation of bribery can be damaging to both an individual and a business, but our experienced team of defence lawyers can advise you about the law, as well as defending you against an accusation of bribery.


General Bribery Offences

The Act sets out a number of definitions of bribery, targeting both the payer and the recipient of a bribe.

The offence of bribery is committed even if the act took place outside the UK, as long as the party to the bribe has what is regarded as a close connection to the UK.

Bribery of foreign public officials

The Bribery Act created a specific offence of bribing a foreign public official, where the payer intends to influence the official, to gain or retain business.

Prosecution against Senior Officers of a company

As well as prosecutions against organisations and individuals directly involved in a bribe, the Act facilitates prosecutions against Senior Officers of companies if it is established that a bribe took place with the consent or connivance of a Senior Officer.

Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery

The most controversial aspect of the Bribery Act is the creation of an offence committed by an organisation, when a person associated with it commits the offence of bribery, unless the organisation can prove that they had adequate procedures in place designed to prevent bribery.

This offence presents many challenges to the business community, not least of which relate to the thorny issues of corporate hospitality and facilitation payments. Our bribery compliance lawyers can prepare for you a bespoke anti bribery policy and procedure, to protect your business.

Corporate Hospitality

The appropriateness of corporate hospitality needs to be considered carefully in the context of an individual business and the relevant sector We can provide expert legal advice on corporate hospitality, bespoke to your business.

Facilitation Payments

Facilitation payments are usually small payments to officials, to facilitate routine government action to expedite their performance of duties such as issuing permits, allowing unloading of cargo etc.

Organisations may find themselves in a difficult scenario whereby facilitation payments are demanded. However, facilitation payments are classed as a bribe and therefore if they are paid, there is a risk of a criminal prosecution. If you have previously been asked to pay a facilitation payment or are asked to make a facilitation payment in the future, then please contact us so we can advise you on your individual circumstances.


Self reporting

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is the lead agency for investigating and prosecuting domestic and overseas bribery and corruption. They conduct lengthy investigations and will prosecute where they consider that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to do so.

A number of organisations having discovered that an incident of bribery has taken place within their business have taken the step of self reporting to the SFO. Self reporting does not provide a guarantee that a criminal prosecution will not follow, but is a relevant consideration, especially if the SFO regard it as part of a proactive approach adopted by the management of an organisation.

If you have identified that an incident of bribery has or may have occurred within your organisation, , you should contact us for expert legal advice. We can help you assess the situation and will work with you to find the best solution for your business.

Joint UK and American Investigations into bribery

The SFO are increasingly working on investigations alongside their American counterparts and have a number of ongoing multi-jurisdictional investigations.

If a bribery or corruption investigation or prosecution occurs in the USA against a UK national or business, they may require legal advice from a team of lawyers comprising both British and American lawyers. We can work alongside American lawyers and/or leading barristers with experience of advising UK businesses and individuals defending allegations of bribery and corruption either in the UK or in the USA.

Deferred Prosecutions

Deferred Prosecutions are agreements entered into by organisations with investigators, whereby criminal prosecution is avoided in return for compliance with conditions such as an admission of wrongdoing, substantial governance changes, often ongoing compliance monitoring and usually the payment of a substantial financial penalty. They are used when it is considered that a prosecution is not in the public interest but they are now being used increasingly by the SFO, and are particularly likely to be considered in bribery investigations.

How to protect your organisation

Businesses should carefully assess the potential risks they face in their sector and the geographical locations in which they operate. The business should then prepare an anti-bribery policy and a documented procedure for staff and associates to follow, supported with appropriate training.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have a problem in relation to bribery, or if you would simply like to discuss these issues with one of our solicitors in strict confidence and without obligation:

  • Request a free call back using the form on the right
  • Phone us during office hours on 0333 888 4040
  • Email us at

Who Can Help You?

Richard Nelson

Senior Partner

Mark Wilson, Partner at Richard Nelson LLP

Mark Wilson


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What we do...

We can help you in any of the following ways:

• Assist your business to perform a risk assessment;
• Prepare anti-bribery policies and procedures;
• Provide training for appropriate personnel;
• Advise on specific bribery issues;
• Advise on all aspects of self reporting bribery to the SFO;
• Robustly defend businesses and/or individuals who find themselves the subject of a bribery investigation or prosecution.

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