Lobbying in the UK - what you need to know

08 May 2018

Over the coming years Brexit will bring with it the possibility of changes to various UK laws, as well as new opportunities for businesses outside the UK to begin trading into the jurisdiction through new trade deals with other countries.

Many business and trade bodies - both within and outside the UK - will be anxious to make their voices heard so as to help shape the laws, regulatory frameworks and trade deals that will come into effect over the next few years.

For those that wish to engage with UK lawmakers, political parties and civil servants as part of this process, it will be important to understand the various rules and regulations around doing so.

Our Public Law and Regulation team has authored the UK chapter in the first edition of Getting the Deal Through - Government Relations 2018. Authored by experts around the world, Government Relations offers first step, comparative analysis of the legal frameworks, regulations and procedures concerning the practice of government relations and lobbying within the most significant jurisdictions worldwide, including the UK.

Our chapter is a vital resource for those wishing to undertake lobbying activity in the UK, and includes details of the following important points:

  1. Subject to certain exceptions, it is an offence for an individual or organisation to lobby for others in return for payment, without being regulated by the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists;
  2. There are strict regulations around donations to political parties, members associations and holders of relevant elected offices. The Electoral Commission has the power to investigate potential breaches, and issue fines or require action to be taken or ceased where those regulations have been breached;
  3. The codes of conduct that apply to government ministers, Members of Parliament and civil servants subject them to stringent requirements in relation to how they must deal with lobbyists, including the registration of interests as well as gifts, benefits or hospitality that they receive; and
  4. It is an offence for a person to offer or pay a bribe, or to receive or agree to receive a bribe, either directly or indirectly, and businesses incorporated or carrying on business in the UK must have adequate procedures in place to prevent such conduct by their employees.

For more detailed information on the legislative framework, regulations and procedure around lobbying, financing of political parties and anti-corruption measures in the UK, read our full chapter.

Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. Getting the Deal Through: Government Regulations 2018, (published in April 2018; contributing editors: Charles L Landgraf, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. For further information please visit gettingthedealthrough.com.

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