LSE Criminal Law Professor Delivers Keynote Address at STL Legal Forum
On March 31, 2018, STL co-hosted a Legal Forum featuring London School of Economics Professor Jeremy Horder, a leading scholar of criminal law. Professor Horder delivered remarks on, “Bribery Reform in the UK: Implications for Chinese Businesses.” The Forum was attended by over 100 lawyers and leaders from the Shenzhen and regional legal community, as well as students and faculty from STL. The event was co-sponsored by Dentons and Benchmark Chambers International (BCI). WANG Qianwu, a senior partner in Dentons Shenzhen office, moderated the Forum. STL’s vice dean, Colleen Toomey, made opening remarks on behalf of the law school.
In his keynote address, Professor Horder provided an overview of the major provisions of the UK Bribery Act 2010. Professor Horder was one of the principal authors of the legislation, which set out to consolidate and modernize the UK’s ad hoc and antiquated bribery laws. The Bribery Act criminalizes commercial bribery and bribery of domestic and foreign government officials; receipt of a bribe; and failure by a corporate entity to prevent bribery. The extraterritorial scope of the Act is far reaching, which is a significant change from prior law. Under the Act, the corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery applies not only to U.K. companies, but also to any company that conducts business in the U.K. (e.g., registered on the London Stock Exchange), even if the conduct constituting bribery took place outside of the U.K. Professor Horder spent considerable time discussing these aspects of the Act, as well as steps companies can take to protect against liability under the Act. For example, having “adequate procedures” in place to detect and deter such conduct (such as ethics training programs, compliance and due diligence protocols, etc.) will provide a defense to the corporate charge of failing to prevent bribery. Professor Horder also discussed key differences between the Bribery Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the anti-corruption legislation adopted in the United States. His presentation was followed by an extended Q&A session.
Against the backdrop of China making an increasing number of investments in foreign countries, Professor Horder’s remarks provided a valuable opportunity for local lawyers and STL students to better understand the UK’s bribery laws.