Bribery Act delayed as guidance is clarified

The Bribery Act faces a second delay to give business time to deal with its tough new rules. The Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke acted after an intense lobbying campaign from groups, such as the CBI, which want the rules – covering how companies handle overseas contracts – to be reconsidered.

The Justice Ministry is still working on guidance to make the much-criticised act and its rules "practical and comprehensive" for business. When published it will be followed by a three-month notice period before the act is implemented.

The CBI said it supported attempts to modernise the legislation, but wants a review to look at areas such as hospitality and third-party services. Richard Burger, at the law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, said: "Businesses will welcome the delay in implementing the Bribery Act as it is, given their concerns about the legislation. It is such a significant piece of corporate criminal legislation that it would be preferable to get it right now."

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