The emerging views on where the Bribery Act is leading us were discussed this week at a seminar held by 5 St Andrew’s Hill. James Vine took attendees through the main sections of the Act and considerations such as facilitation payments and referral fees. Then Dominic Connolly considered potential penalties, ancillary orders, confiscation and civil recovery. Corporate hospitality has to date been the big concern – it sends companies flocking to compliance courses as they’re whipped up into a frenzy by the media. It is not, however, that relevant to most of the Act. In fact, James Vine commented that the Act ‘might have more teeth than some journalists and lawyers have suggested…’
The Solicitor General is conducting a preliminary consultation about the way in which an English version of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA’s) might work. This is good news because such agreements do have a valuable role to play in law enforcement where investigation budgets are tight and it is also good news for companies who often need a way out of a costly and uncertain criminal investigation. But the debate must be fully informed. The public needs to know what is being contemplated.