A CLEAR, DETAILED AND UP-TO-DATE ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
When is a gift a bribe? When is `corporate hospitality' a bribe? In the light of the new anti-bribery Act which came into force in July 2011, it has become a matter of urgency to find out. `Although it is a criminal statute'...the main effects of the Bribery Act will be on the conduct of business,' says the author, Eoin O'Shea, adding that `civil law will keep breaking in to most discussions of the criminal law of bribery.'
Brand new from Jordans Publishing, this book (as the subtitle promises) provides a practical guide to practitioners, particularly those who act for clients in the commercial and public sectors. The book commences with some interesting historical, moral and fundamentally practical perspectives on bribery, pointing out that distaste for bribery occurs across a wide range of societies and cultures, even though in certain countries it continues to be regarded as an unpalatable, but tolerable evil.
However, as the author asserts, `it is widely acknowledged that corruption is a major contributor to poverty and conflict in developing countries.' Furthermore, `corruption distorts markets... increases the cost of trade, raises the credit and political risks of overseas investment, (and) contributes to economic instability...'
Following this thoughtful introduction, the book's subsequent chapters contain clear and detailed analyses of the legislation. Compliance procedures are explained with respect to the new Act -- and worked scenarios and hypothetical, but illustrative examples are frequently used to clarify particular points.
Certainly the text identifies difficult issues of interpretation, as well as issues of enforcement and prosecution. There are chapters on active bribery and passive bribery, for example, followed by examinations of such topics as improper performance...bribery of foreign officials...failure of commercial organizations to prevent bribery...accessory liability and civil liability.
This of course is only a taste of what this erudite and readable book contains. It's the last chapter which examines the particular problems of hospitality, promotion, facilitation payments, extortion and mergers; issues which will be of concern to many a business, or public sector organisation in the UK.
For further clarification, discussion and research, there's a useful section at the back with an extensive list of websites and blogs on the subject. And as you would expect with a work of this stature, further avenues for research abound, including tables of cases, statutes, statutory instruments, European material and international material. The nine appendices include the text of the Act plus additional explanatory notes and guidance.
If you're a practitioner in this field, the practical approach taken by this guide will familiarise you with this important new legislation and its many implications. Propositions of the law are stated as at 30 April 2011.