Bribery Act Procedure

Mission Statement

  • The practice is committed to running a professional business free from discreditable behaviour of any kind. It is particularly committed to preventing bribery by persons associated with it.
  •  In order to prevent the unwitting engagement in behaviour which might raise the suspicion of bribery and to prevent any associated person purporting to act on its behalf in a manner that brings suspicion on the practice and employees, the following measures have been adopted as appropriate and proportionate to the risks we face. They will be enforced by their dissemination, regular training and disciplinary measures. Any resources that are required to implement any compliance measures will be made available.

Management

  • The responsibility for compliance with the Bribery Act rests with the top level of management, who will exercise oversight, make assessments of risk, deal with decisions where potential for bribery exists, receive and investigate reports of bribery and supervise the measures put in place to prevent bribery.
  • The daily overall responsibility for the compliance with the Bribery Act and the implementation of the policy rests with the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP). The COLP is to be consulted on any matter where the possibility of unlawful acts could arise.A Central Register will be maintained by the COLP’s Assistant to record all gifts sent or received and all lunches or functions attended or held by the firm.  All Partners and employees have a duty to complete the relevant form for the COLP’s Assistant to enter in the central register.

          The firm forbids the acceptance or offer of any cash gifts whatsoever.

  • It shall be a condition of the contract of employment of all employees that they shall at all times observe the requirements of this policy.
  • The Members and employees shall report any attempt at bribery which comes to their attention, whether it consists of an approach by one of them, to one of them or an act done by an associated third party. In the first instance the report should be made to the COLP.
  •  Under no circumstances should a person who reports a suspicion of bribery be subject to victimisation for making a bona fide report, whether or not the suspicion turns out to be justified.

Assessment of Risk

  • Employees are governed by a strict code of conduct and are chosen for their integrity as well as ability. As such the general assessment of the risk of committing an offence under the Act is very low.Employees should be aware that any transaction involving an agent or other intermediary is at a higher risk of involving some form of bribery.
  •  The risk of falling foul of a section 6 offence, of bribing a foreign official or of extra-territorial offences does not arise
  • However:

In relation to occasions on which hospitality is offered or accepted by Members or employees, issues may arise as to the line between a proper public relations exercise and intention to induce improper performance of a relevant function;In relation to awarding contracts for services the partners have Members for competitive tendering in place. However, as an additional requirement and as a requirement in awarding contracts which are not required to go out to tender, an issue of bribery might arise;In relation to the awarding of briefs to counsel, issues may arise as to the financial arrangements that are made for the sharing of the professional fee;

In relation to charitable and political donations, care should be exercised to avoid the suggestion of soliciting favours;

The assessment of the firm’s exposure to external and internal risks of bribery will be assessed annually and documented in a report to the annual general meeting of the Members.

Legacies, Gifts & Hospitality;

  1. If a client wishes to leave any monies or gifts to an employee of the firm, they must be told that the firm cannot act to effect this and that they must seek advice from an alternative firm.
  1. Partners are not permitted to accept any such money or gifts.
  1. In relation to hospitality, promotional expenditure which seeks to improve the image of the firm, to establish cordial and professional relationships and to maintain them, is not unlawful if it is reasonable, justifiable and
  1. In order to make an assessment of any particular hospitality event which is to be offered to a client or prospective client the COLP must be supplied with This will include the cost and nature of the hospitality, the name and details of the person to be entertained and the purpose of the event. The COLP is required to approve the event or can make suggestions for modifying it.
  1. Employees must keep financial records and have appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third
  1. Employees must declare to the COLP all hospitality or gifts accepted or offered, which will be subject to managerial
  1. Employees must ensure all expense claims relating to hospitality, gifts or expenses incurred to third parties are submitted in accordance with our expenses policy and specifically record the reason for the
  1. No accounts must be kept “off-book” to facilitate or conceal improper
  1. The giving or receipt of gifts or hospitality is prohibited in the following circumstances:-
  • It is made with the intention of influencing a third party or obtain or retain business or a business advantage, or to reward the provision or retention of business or a business advantage, or in explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits;
  • It does not comply with local law;
  • It is given in the name of the employee as opposed to the firm;
  • It includes cash or a cash equivalent (such as gift certificate or vouchers);
  • It is given in bad faith;
  • Taking into account the reason for the gift or hospitality, it is of an inappropriate value;
  • It is given secretly;
  • It is offered to, or accepted from, government officials or representatives, or politicians or political parties, without the prior approval of the COLP.

Contracts with Clients

No fees over and above proper professional fees agreed in advance for professional work done may be accepted. No payment may be made to the client for the award of a contract for services. The rules imposed by the SRA are to be followed.

Subcontracting

In subcontracting professional work to agents no fee should be sought or accepted for awarding a contract to a subcontractor. The rules imposed by the SRA are to be followed 

Third Parties

  • A third party should be engaged to act on behalf of the practice in a manner consistent with this policy. The terms of engagement should be written down and should refer to this policy.
  •  Due diligence checks carried out on prospective contractors ought to include, where appropriate, an assessment of their ethical conduct.

Charitable and Political Donations

Donations of a charitable or political nature must be approved by a full Members meeting and be subject to a prior audit to ensure that there can be no suspicion that any advantage could be thought to accrue to the firm or any of its Members or employees.

Communication

Any member or member of staff is able to approach the COLP in absolute confidence in order to receive advice as to their conduct or to report a matter of concern.

Training

  • All staff employed by the practice will be required to undergo regular training in the terms of the Bribery Act and the requirements described in this document. It shall be a term of the contracts of employment that such training should be undertaken.
  • A copy of the up-to-date guidance given by the Ministry of Justice under section 9 of the Act is available for consultation.
  • Any Member or member of staff is able to approach the COLP in absolute confidence in order to receive advice as to their conduct or to report a matter of concern which relates to bribery.

Referrals

Gifts and hospitality given and received between this firm and other professionals with whom referrals have been exchanged must be approved by senior management.  Such gifts and hospitality must be offered or received in good faith and with our clients’ best interest a priority.