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The Bribery Act will give businesses outbid by competitors a new weapon to challenge the outcome of tenders in the civil courts, says James Maton

11 July 2011

The Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July, introduces a consolidated scheme of offences modernising and criminalising bribery in both the private and public sectors.

The Act has attracted a great deal of publicity, particularly the new offence of ‘failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery’, applicable both to UK companies and partnerships and to overseas entities which carry on business in the UK. An organisation will be liable for a bribe paid on its behalf, anywhere in the world, unless it can demonstrate that it had implemented ‘adequate procedures’ designed to prevent bribery. In addition to its own directors and employees, third parties performing services for or on behalf of an organisation can trigger liability.

The intention is to require commercial organisations to assess the bribery risks they face, and to implement, maintain and enforce policies, systems and controls designed to deter and detect bribery; and to make it easier...

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