What is the liability of legal persons for foreign bribery?
What is the liability of legal persons for foreign bribery?
December 2016

The liability of legal persons is a key feature of the emerging legal infrastructure for the global economy.  Without it, governments face a losing battle in the fight against foreign bribery and other complex economic crimes. For many jurisdictions, corporate liability for corruption offences has only come into existence since the entry into force of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1999.

This report presents a chronology and a “mapping” of the features of the systems for liability of legal persons found in Parties to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Key findings
The “liability of legal persons” is about ensuring that business organisations can be held liable for certain types of wrongdoing in addition to, or independently from, any natural persons – such as its officers, employees or agents – involved in the foreign bribery offence.
Despite a marked trend toward the adopting and strengthening of legal person liability laws by Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention, this stocktaking report shows a wide variability among the systems deployed in each country.
Although significant progress has been made in developing legal person liability systems since the adoption of the Convention, many Parties are still clarifying their legal thinking and practice in relation to crucial areas of law for the global economy.