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Freshfields Risk & Compliance

| less than a minute read

Section 7 adequate procedures defence finally put to the test - but at what cost?

The adequate procedures defence in s.7 of the UK Bribery Act - the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery - has finally been put to the test in a contested trial against UK office interiors company, Skansen Interior Ltd.  This was an unusual case for the prosecution (the CPS) to choose as a 'test' case: the company had self-reported, the individuals involved had been charged with criminal offences, and the company was dormant and had no assets.  As a result, the only sentence available to the court was to impose an absolute discharge.  

What can be gleaned from the case? 

The company called evidence about its anti-bribery controls, including a policy which required employees to act honestly and ethically, financial controls over invoice payment, anti-bribery clauses in contracts and evidence that the relevant individual understood that bribery should not be used. The jury's verdict signals that they did not accept that those measures amounted to adequate procedures.