Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008
Insertion of new sections 10A and 10B into Civil Legal Aid Act 1995.
77.— The Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 is amended by inserting the following after section 10:
“Accountability of Chief Executive to Public Accounts Committee.
10A.— (1) The Chief Executive shall, whenever required to do so by the Committee of Dáil Éireann established under the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann to examine and report to Dáil Éireann on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, give evidence to that Committee on—
(a) the regularity and propriety of the transactions recorded or required to be recorded in any book or other record of account subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General which the Board is required by this Act to prepare,
(b) the economy and efficiency of the Board in the use of its resources,
(c) the systems, procedures and practices employed by the Board for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of its operations, and
(d) any matter affecting the Board referred to in a special report of the Comptroller and Auditor General under section 11(2) of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993, or in any other report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (in so far as it relates to a matter specified in paragraph (a), (b) or (c)) that is laid before Dáil Éireann.
(2) In the performance of his or her duties under this section, the Chief Executive shall not question or express an opinion on the merits of any policy of the Government or a Minister of the Government or on the objectives of such a policy.
Accountability of Chief Executive to other Oireachtas Committees.
10B.— (1) In this section, ‘Committee’ means a Committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than a Committee referred to in section 10A or the Committee of Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee of Members’ Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a subcommittee of such a Committee.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the Chief Executive shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Board.
(3) The Chief Executive shall not be required to give account before a Committee in relation to any individual case with which the Board is concerned in the performance of its functions under section 5.
(4) Where the Chief Executive is of the opinion that a matter in respect of which the Chief Executive is requested to give an account before a Committee is a matter to which subsection (3) applies, he or she shall inform the Committee of that opinion and the reasons for the opinion and, unless the information is conveyed to the Committee at a time when the Chief Executive is before it, the information shall be so conveyed in writing.
(5) Where the Chief Executive has informed a Committee of his or her opinion in accordance with subsection (4) and the Committee does not withdraw the request referred in subsection (2) in so far as it relates to a matter the subject of that opinion—
(a) the Chief Executive may, not later than 21 days after being informed by the Committee of its decision not to do so, apply to the High Court in a summary manner for determination of the question whether the matter is one to which subsection (3) applies, or
(b) the Chairperson of the Committee may, on behalf of the Committee, make such an application,
and the High Court may determine the matter.
(6) Pending the determination of an application under subsection (5), the Chief Executive shall not attend before the Committee to give account for the matter the subject of the application.
(7) If the High Court determines that the matter concerned is one to which subsection (3) applies, the Committee shall withdraw the request referred to in subsection (2), but if the High Court determines that subsection (3) does not apply, the Chief Executive shall attend before the Committee to give account for the matter.”.