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Update: commercial contracts

Mark Lucas considers the impact of the Bribery Act 2010 on solicitors' practices and commercial contracts

21 March 2011

Progress of the Act

The Bribery Act received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 and its implementation is due at the end of a three-month notice period which will start when the secretary of state for justice publishes the statutory guidance under section 9 of the Act “about procedures that relevant commercial organisations can put in place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing as mentioned in section 7(1)”.

The Ministry of Justice has published such guidance only in draft and has conducted a consultation in relation to that draft guidance.

While the Act is controversial and its implementation has been delayed twice, it would be more controversial if it were not now implemented.

The Act’s genesis is the UK’s ratification of the OECD’s Bribery Convention (Command Paper number: Cm3994) in 1998. That threw light on the UK law’s non-conformity with the convention and the OECD has since criticised the UK’s failure to...

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