BCL partner John Binns has produced a practice note for LexisNexis discussing anti-bribery and criminal law in the life sciences sector.

*Here is a short extract from the article:

There are various ways in which criminal law can interact with the life sciences sector. As well as offences against the person and controlled drugs offences, various 'corporate' or 'white collar' offences can be relevant for individuals and corporates, including counterfeiting, criminal cartel offences, money laundering and fraud, as well as bribery. Breaches of the sector's regulatory regime (including on medical devices, and inducements and hospitality) can also result in criminal liability. Enforcement through criminal investigations and proceedings may (but will not necessarily) follow.

Mental element and inchoate offences

For most UK criminal offences, guilt is determined by reference to an individual's state of mind (the 'mental element' of the offence). As well as direct involvement, individuals can be liable for various inchoate offences.

For information, see: State of mind—overview.


Generally, jurisdiction in UK law is territorial, meaning that only conduct that took place here can be the subject of trials and punishment here, though there are exceptions (including for bribery).

Non-UK jurisdictions have different rules, with the US having jurisdiction, for instance, over non-US financial transactions in US dollars.

*This article was first published by LexisNexis in May 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit LexisNexis website.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.