The importance of bi-lateral trading between the UK and the Republic of Ireland is reflective of the historical and geographical links between the two countries. Despite its population of only 4.5 million people, the Republic imports a volume of trade from the UK which exceeds the combined total of UK exports to China, India, Brazil and Russia. In monetary terms, the 201 trade statistics show that UK exports to Eire were valued at £14bn and imports at £10.4bn.
However the manner in which the criminal law may impact upon trade between the two countries differs in significant respects. This is certainly the case with regard to national legislation in matters of criminal cartels and bribery and corruption.
In this first part of an examination of cross border legislation on corrupt practices, the focus is upon differences on both sides of the Irish Sea. Informed businesses in England and Wales and their trading counter-parts in the Republic of Ireland are trying to negotiate the hazards of the impact of recent and proposed legislation which affects commercial activity in both jurisdictions and the lack of clarity in the policy which enforcement agencies may adopt. Many undertakings, however, are lacking in awareness or are significantly under-informed about the risks that corporations and directors and senior managers may encounter.
In a survey of 1000 middle managers conducted by Ernst & Young which featured in The Lawyer on May 14 2012, 72% of the managers surveyed had never heard of the Bribery Act 2010. Of the 28% of informed managers, only half considered that the training they had received was adequate to ensure compliance with the statutory regime.