LONDON – Reed Smith partner Eoin O’Shea, a leading authority on the law of bribery, has welcomed the House of Lords report on the UK Bribery Act, which was published yesterday.

The Lords Committee examined whether the Act was achieving its intended purposes. The Act was broadly commended by the Lords as ‘an excellent piece of legislation’ however the Committee made several recommendations for reform of UK Government Guidance.

The Committee also reviewed whether to extend the ‘failure to prevent’ model of corporate liability to a wider group of economic crimes, something which the Serious Fraud Office has been lobbying for.

O’Shea, who is the author of a leading textbook on the Bribery Act and Chair of the City of London Law Society Corporate Crime Committee, said: “This report is a welcome endorsement of the Bribery Act, which is recognised as one of the leading anti-corruption statutes worldwide.

“I am glad that the Lords recommended updating the government guidance document which in my opinion is long overdue. It is also pleasing that the Committee took into account the specific point that the ‘adequacy’ test, as regards what are appropriate procedures to combat corporate bribery has to retain some independent substance, and that the guidance should make clear that it means ‘reasonable in all the circumstances’. This would be a very sensible and practical development and I urge the Government to consider it.”

O’Shea gave oral and written evidence to the Lords Committee on behalf of the Law Society of England and Wales and the City of London Law Society.