The United Kingdoms Ministry of Justice today published its highly anticipated official guidance on the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) and announced that the Act will come into force after a three-month notice period, on 1 July 2011. The guidance endorses a pragmatic approach to risk-based compliance and leans heavily on prosecutorial discretion to ensure that the Acts broad language does not impede the conduct of legitimate business.
The official guidance from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ Guidance) includes statutory guidelines, illustrative case studies and a quick start guide for the broad range of United Kingdom and global organizations subject to the Act. In conjunction with the MOJ Guidance, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions also released Joint Prosecution Guidance (Joint Prosecution Guidance), which instructs prosecutors on enforcing the Act.
The MOJ Guidance published today follows an eight-week public consultation held in autumn 2010 and addresses a number of concerns raised by businesses, interest groups, and anti-corruption organizations regarding the Act. Clients should be aware of the following key aspects of both sets of guidance.