Corruption laws go back to the drawing board

The government has gone back to square one in its attempt to reform Britain’s
corruption law and asked the Law Commission to review bribery legislation and
produce a second draft bill.

Home secretary John Reid announced the move after confirming there was
‘significant and influential opposition’ to the government’s previous draft

It follows the controversial decision of attorney general Lord Goldsmith to
halt the investigation of alleged corruption in the Al Yamani deal between BAE
and Saudi Arabia.

Reid said consultation on the government’s proposals confirmed there was
broad support for reform of the prevention of corruption law. He said the
government remained committed to a fundamental reform and would bring forward
proposals ‘as soon as we are in a position to do so’.

He said there was no consensus as to what the new law should do due to
‘fundamental disagreement’ between those involved.

He had therefore decided to ask the Law Commission to take a fresh look,
taking account of the attempts to reform the law, legal provisions abroad and
the practical experience of law enforcers operating existing law.

Reid added that the Commission had also been asked to look at the wider
context on corrupt practices to see how existing provisions complemented the law
on bribery without making recommendations for changing the law.

He said the government had asked the Commission to prioritise the work and is
making additional resources available for it to do so.

Related reading