Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013

48.

Award of Part 2 inquiry legal costs against third parties.

48.— (1) Subject to the guidelines (if any) issued under section 46 and to section 96(1) and (2), where the Oireachtas Commission believes, on the basis of the final report of the committee after it has been finalised by the committee, that the committee has incurred Part 2 inquiry legal costs that the committee would not otherwise have incurred as a result of a person—

( a) failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any direction under this Act,

( b) failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a requirement that the committee was entitled to issue,

( c) engaging in conduct that is unreasonably prolix, dilatory or evasive or which otherwise results in the Part 2 inquiry being needlessly prolonged or in unnecessary Part 2 inquiry legal costs being incurred,

( d) acting in a manner that has resulted in a finding of relevant misbehaviour being made in respect of him or her, or

( e) otherwise obstructing the inquiry,

the Oireachtas Commission may give a notice in writing to the person setting out that belief and the grounds for that belief and stating that, if one or more of those grounds are confirmed by the Court under section 96(2) , the Oireachtas Commission intends to exercise its power under subsection (2) relating to the recoupment of such costs so incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed (including such costs arising from any delay in completing the Part 2 inquiry).

(2) Where under section 96(2) the Court has confirmed any grounds referred to in subsection (1), the Oireachtas Commission may make a request in writing (which request shall be accompanied by the relevant documents) to the person to whom those grounds so confirmed relate to pay to the Oireachtas Commission, not later than 60 days after the request is made, the amount specified in the request, being the Part 2 inquiry legal costs that the Oireachtas Commission believes that the committee has incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(3) Where the person the subject of a request under subsection (2)

( a) fails to comply with the request within the 60 days referred to in that subsection, or

( b) gives a notice in writing to the Oireachtas Commission that he or she objects to the amount specified in the request,

whichever first occurs, the Oireachtas Commission shall cause the Part 2 inquiry legal costs concerned to be adjudicated and ascertained by a parliamentary legal costs adjudicator (and, in any such case, the parliamentary legal costs adjudicator shall not be bound to treat the amount specified in the request as a maximum for the purposes of such adjudication and ascertainment).

(4) Subject to the guidelines (if any) issued under section 46 , subsection (8) and section 96(1) and (2), where the Oireachtas Commission believes, on the basis of the final report of the committee after it has been finalised by the committee, that a person (in this section referred to as the “aggrieved person”) who has attended before or given evidence to the committee is adversely affected as a result of an act or omission referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (1) such that the aggrieved person has incurred Part 2 inquiry legal costs that would not otherwise have been incurred but for that act or omission, the Oireachtas Commission may, at the request in the specified form of the aggrieved person, give a notice in writing to the person, whose act or omission had that result, setting out that belief and the grounds for that belief and stating that, if one or more of those grounds are confirmed by the Court under section 96(2) , the Oireachtas Commission intends to exercise its power under subsection (5) relating to the recoupment, on behalf of the aggrieved person, of such costs so incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(5) Where under section 96(2) the Court has confirmed any grounds referred to in subsection (4), the Oireachtas Commission may make a request in writing (which request shall be accompanied by the relevant documents) to the person to whom those grounds relate to pay to the aggrieved person, not later than 60 days after the request is made, the amount specified in the request, being the Part 2 inquiry legal costs that the Oireachtas Commission believes that the aggrieved person has incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(6) Where the person the subject of a request under subsection (5)

( a) fails to comply with the request within the 60 days referred to in that subsection, or

( b) gives a notice in writing to the Oireachtas Commission that he or she objects to the amount specified in the request,

whichever first occurs, the Oireachtas Commission shall cause the Part 2 inquiry legal costs concerned to be adjudicated and ascertained by a parliamentary legal costs adjudicator (and, in any such case, the parliamentary legal costs adjudicator shall not be bound to treat the amount specified in the request as a maximum for the purposes of such adjudication and ascertainment).

(7) A person may be requested to pay Part 2 inquiry legal costs under this section even though the act or omission that resulted in the request is punishable as contempt or as an offence against a provision of this Act or otherwise renders the person liable to civil proceedings under this Act, and the request shall not prevent the person being punished for contempt or the bringing of proceedings in respect of the offence or the act or omission concerned.

(8) Subject to section 96(5) and (6), where a request in the specified form referred to in subsection (4) is made to the Oireachtas Commission by the aggrieved person—

( a) it shall, not later than 45 days after the request is made, give a notice in writing to the aggrieved person of what action (which may be no action) it proposes to take in respect of the request and its reasons for such action, and

( b) if, as a result of that request, the Oireachtas Commission gives a notice referred to in subsection (4) or makes a request under subsection (5), it shall, at the same time as it gives the notice or makes the request, as the case may be, give a copy of it to the aggrieved person.

(9) The requests as to Part 2 inquiry legal costs which the Oireachtas Commission may make under this section include a request that a person shall pay any or any combination of the following:

( a) a proportion of another person’s such costs;

( b) a stated amount in respect of another person’s such costs;

( c) such costs from or until a certain date only or in respect of a specified period;

( d) such costs incurred after the resolution referred to in section 13(1) in respect of the Part 2 inquiry was passed but before the inquiry commenced or, in the case of a Part 2 inquiry which is a section 16 inquiry, after section 16 applies and the committee that is to conduct the section 16 inquiry was identified but before the section 16 inquiry commenced;

( e) such costs relating to particular steps taken in or in relation to the inquiry by the committee;

( f) such costs relating only to a distinct part of the Part 2 inquiry;

( g) interest on such costs from or until a certain date or in respect of a specified period.

(10) In this section “relevant documents”, in relation to an amount specified in a request under subsection (2) or (5), means—

( a) a signed bill of costs, prepared in accordance with the guidelines (if any) issued under section 46 , showing how that amount was calculated,

( b) a copy of this Part,

( c) a copy of Part 9 ,

( d) a copy of the guidelines issued under section 46 , and

( e) a copy of the order of the Court under section 96(2) making the confirmation concerned.