Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010 stipulates that a relevant commercial organization is guilty of an offence if it
fails to prevent bribery.
How does one prevent bribery?
The Act is principle-based and puts the
onus squarely on the relevant commercial
organization to prove that there were indeed
adequate systems, processes, and procedures
in place so that any person associated with
the relevant commercial organization may
not commit such an act.
The guidance note issued by the Ministry
of Justice on the UK Bribery Act 2010 states
that, “In accordance with established
case law, the standard of proof which the
commercial organization would need to
discharge in order to prove the defense, in
the event it was prosecuted, is the balance of
Relevant commercial organization
has been defined as:
1. A body incorporated in the
United Kingdom and carrying on
business there or elsewhere
2. A body wherever incorporated
which carries on business in any
part of the United Kingdom
3. Is similar to a partnership
Associated person is defined as a person
who performs services on behalf of the
relevant commercial organization. The
capacity in which a person performs services
does not matter (e.g., employee, agent or
subsidiary are included). The fact that a
person performs services will have to be
determined by reference to all circumstances
and not by virtue of relationship alone, and
employee-employer relationship presumes
Section 7 provides a comprehensive
scope of all persons who are connected
to the organization and are capable
UK Bribery Act 2010:
An analysis of Section 7
» As per Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010, the onus is on the commercial organization to prove that there were indeed
procedures to prevent bribery.
» The UK Bribery Act is principle‑based.
» The relevant principles include proportionate procedures, top‑level commitment, risk assessment, due diligence,
communication and training, and monitoring and review.
» The underlying assumption is that the act of bribery can be prevented.
» Where there is indeed an act of bribery committed by the associated person, then it becomes a case of deemed
probabilities as a defense for the commercial organization.
by Venkat Pillai, ACA, CFE, GRCP, GRCA, ISO 27001 LA
Venkat Pillai ( email@example.com) is Director at Baker Tilly
GCE in Bangalore, India.