The new Bribery Act is drafted too widely.  It criminalises innocent activities (see example below).  We were assured by the previous Labour government that this does not matter since "prosecutorial discretion" will ensure that only the "guilty" are punished.  This puts the power of deciding who is guilty (ie moral wrongdoers) in the hands of the state, since many innocent activities are criminalised by this law.  The new Act needs to be amended so that only wrong deeds are criminalised.

An example: a person ("P") has two tickets to the Wimbledon final on Sunday.  P wishes to take his old friend, "J", a High Court judge.  J has told P that she has a great deal of work to do over the weekend on a case she is judging.  If P persuades J (despite her protests about workload) to accompany him to the tennis, P is guilty of bribery under the terms of the new law even though P derives no benefit from J's acceptance of the ticket (except the pleasure of her company).

Why is this idea important?

The Bribery Act 2010 effectively criminalises a huge number of innocent activities.  The criminal law must not do this – it must criminalise only wrong acts.  The Act must therefore be amended to remedy this.

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