The UK Bribery Act (the Bribery Act) was passed on 8 April 2010 and comes into force on 1 July 2011. Until recently, international anti-corruption enforcement has been largely dominated by the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (the FCPA).
The Bribery Act, however, represents part of a broader international trend and has an even wider application than the FCPA. While organisations may consider that their anti-corruption procedures are sufficiently robust for the purposes of the FCPA, this may not be the case where the Bribery Act is concerned. It is therefore important for organisations operating on a global basis to be aware of the differences between the FCPA and the Bribery Act and to be prepared for the implications of the Bribery Act coming into force.
While this briefing focuses on the differences between the Bribery Act and the FCPA there are many common aspects - not least the extra-territorial application of both laws. The extra-territorial jurisdiction of the FCPA is extensive and has been controversial but the Bribery Act also has extensive extra-territorial jurisdiction. Commercial organisations may be vulnerable to prosecution if they carry on a business, or part of their business, in the UK, irrespective of where the bribe takes place.