Bribery

Bribery Act 2010, s.1, Bribery Act 2010, s.2, Bribery Act 2010, s.6
Effective from: 1 October 2014

Bribing another person Bribery Act 2010 (section 1)

Being bribed Bribery Act 2010 (section 2)

Bribery of foreign public officials Bribery Act 2010 (section 6)

Triable either way

Maximum: 10 years’ custody

Offence range: Discharge – 8 years’ custody

User guide for this offence


Step 1- Determining the offence category

The court should determine the offence category with reference to the tables below. In order to determine the category the court should assess culpability and harm.

The level of culpability is determined by weighing up all the factors of the case to determine the offender’s role and the extent to which the offending was planned and the sophistication with which it was carried out.

Culpability demonstrated by one or more of the following:

A – High culpability

  • A leading role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Involvement of others through pressure, influence
  • Abuse of position of significant power or trust or responsibility
  • Intended corruption (directly or indirectly) of a senior official performing a public function
  • Intended corruption (directly or indirectly) of a law enforcement officer
  • Sophisticated nature of offence/significant planning
  • Offending conducted over sustained period of time
  • Motivated by expectation of substantial financial, commercial or political gain

B – Medium culpability

  • All other cases where characteristics for categories A or C are not present
  • A significant role where offending is part of a group activity

C – Lesser culpability

  • Involved through coercion, intimidation or exploitation
  • Not motivated by personal gain
  • Peripheral role in organised activity
  • Opportunistic ‘one-off’ offence; very little or no planning
  • Limited awareness or understanding of extent of corrupt activity

Where there are characteristics present which fall under different levels of culpability, the court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.  

Harm is assessed in relation to any impact caused by the offending (whether to identifiable victims or in a wider context) and the actual or intended gain to the offender.

Harm demonstrated by one or more of the following factors:

Category 1

  • Serious detrimental effect on individuals (for example by provision of substandard goods or services resulting from the corrupt behaviour)
  • Serious environmental impact
  • Serious undermining of the proper function of local or national government, business or public services
  • Substantial actual or intended financial gain to offender or another or loss caused to others

Category 2

  • Significant detrimental effect on individuals
  • Significant environmental impact
  • Significant undermining of the proper function of local or national government, business or public services
  • Significant actual or intended financial gain to offender or another or loss caused to others
  • Risk of category 1 harm

Category 3

  • Limited detrimental impact on individuals, the environment, government, business or public services
  • Risk of category 2 harm

Category 4

  • Risk of category 3 harm

Risk of harm involves consideration of both the likelihood of harm occurring and the extent of it if it does. Risk of harm is less serious than the same actual harm. Where the offence has caused risk of harm but no (or much less) actual harm, the normal approach is to move to the next category of harm down. This may not be appropriate if either the likelihood or extent of potential harm is particularly high.