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Bribery and Corruption

Bribery and Corruption has long been perceived as a major obstacle for socio-economic development; distorting national and international economic relations.

Corruption includes any illegitimate use of office, and may include a range of different types of crime. Bribery is limited to the giving or acceptance of payment of other illegitimate advantages. To cover these and other matters, we have prepared a report on Economic and Business Crime in an International Context, a review of international law and practice in relation to crimes committed by or on behalf of business. This is part of our Market Foundations initiative.

The scale of the problem of bribery and corruption is significant at both a corporate and governmental level. It creates a major distortion of trade as well as undermining the democratic development of emerging markets.


ICAEW have come together with other professional bodies spanning law and accountancy today pledged to continue their work to tackle bribery, corruption, tax-evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism as leaders from across the world gather in London for an anti-corruption summit. See the full statement here.

Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said: 'Corruption does not just enrich criminals, it does untold damage to society and business by undermining trust. This is why professional bodies work with national and international regulators and law enforcement to support our members' efforts to combat all forms of financial crime. Today’s pledge is a commitment to continue that fight for the very highest standards of ethics and integrity.'

The CCAB bodies are united around the statement. The press release can be found here.

UK Bribery Law

The Bribery Act 2010 (the ‘Act’) came fully into force on 1 July 2011 and introduced new criminal offences of:

  • bribing another person, or being bribed;
  • bribing a foreign public official;
  • commercial organisations failing to prevent bribes being paid on their behalf; and 
  • senior officials of bodies corporate or partnerships who consent or connive at the offences. 

Under the Act there is a defence of “adequate procedures” to prevent bribery for corporate entities and their senior officials. 

As a result of the Act the following legislation has been repealed in full:

  • Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889
  • Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
  • Prevention of Corruption Act 1916 

Furthermore Sections 108 to 110 inclusive of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 have been repealed and the Common Law offence of 'bribery' has been abolished (Section 17 (1), Bribery Act 2010).

ICAEW guidance

International Bribery Law and Conventions

Further information 

An extensive collection of publications on bribery, corruption, forensic accounting, fraud, money laundering and transparency are available from ICAEW's Library & Information Service.

Ministry of Justice guidance:

  • The Bribery Act 2010. Quick Start Guide
  • The Bribery Act 2010. Guidance about procedures which relevant commercial organisations can put in place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing (section 9 of the Bribery Act 2010).
  • Both available from www.justice.gov.uk/legislation/bribery