The U.S. is the global leader in enforcing anti-corruption legislation, while the U.K. has compared unfavorably in prosecuting individuals and corporations pursuant to the countrys anti-bribery rules. The U.K. Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act), which received Royal Assent on April 8, 2010, seeks to change that by overhauling the U.K.s bribery laws and going beyond the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) in several respects.
As highlighted below, however, the broad scope of the Bribery Act creates several areas of uncertainty. Official guidance on these areas is expected in early 2011, prior to the Bribery Acts effective date in April 2011. The U.K. government expects corporations to use this period to bring their anti-corruption policies and programs into compliance with the Bribery Act, and is seeking input from corporations in defining the adequate procedures required by the Bribery Act. The period of consultation is expected to close on November 8, 2010. Entities interested in participating in the consultation may visit www.justice.gov.uk.
This alert highlights the key differences between the FCPA, as applied, and the Bribery Act, as written, and summarizes issues meriting consideration by affected entities.