New law intended to simplify current legislation

The UK’s Bribery Bill is due to be introduced in the next session of Parliament, which gets underway on November 18.

The Bribery Bill is intended to simplify current legislation covering the offences of offering and accepting bribes—some of the current laws date back to the 19th Century.

The Bill will also create a specific offence of bribing a foreign public official and a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery. It responds to international calls to address deficiencies in UK laws on the bribery of foreign officials and corporate liability.

According to a QBE claims brief the Bill is not apparently intended to curtail corporate hospitality or other events aimed at marketing services or building relationships with existing business connections. An offence is only committed if the intention of the offering or giving/accepting of an “advantage” is to induce or reward improper conduct.

Organizations convicted of the negligent failure offence face an unlimited fine and the maximum penalty for individuals convicted of giving or receiving bribes increases from 7 to 10 years imprisonment.