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

57.

Awarding of private bill legal costs (promoter) to promoters.

57.— (1) Subject to the guidelines (if any) issued under section 56 , subsections (4) and (6) and section 96(1) and (2), where, in proceedings of the Oireachtas on a private bill—

( a) a committee decides that the preamble to the private bill is proved, and

( b) the committee has given the promoter a notice in writing stating—

(i) that the committee believes that the promoter has been vexatiously exposed to private bill legal costs (promoter) as a result of opposition to the private bill by a petitioner, and

(ii) setting out the grounds for that belief,

the Oireachtas Commission shall, at the request in the specified form of the promoter, give a copy of that notice to the petitioner together with a notice in writing (in this section referred to as the “relevant notice”) by the Oireachtas Commission 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, on behalf of the promoter, of such costs so incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(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 petitioner to whom those grounds relate to pay to the promoter, not later than 60 days after the request is made, the amount specified in the request, being the private bill legal costs (promoter) that the Oireachtas Commission believes that the promoter has incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(3) Where the petitioner 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 private bill legal costs (promoter) 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) A petitioner who owns an interest in property and who, at his or her own risk and cost, opposed a private bill which proposed the acquisition of all or any part of that interest shall not be liable to pay any private bill legal costs (promoter) under this section in respect of such opposition.

(5) A petitioner may be requested to pay private bill legal costs (promoter) under this section even though the vexatious behaviour that resulted in the request is punishable as a contempt or as an offence against a provision of this Act or otherwise renders the petitioner liable to civil proceedings under this Act, and the request shall not prevent the petitioner being punished for contempt or the bringing of proceedings in respect of the offence or vexatious behaviour concerned.

(6) Where a request in the specified form under subsection (1) is made to the Oireachtas Commission by the promoter—

( a) it shall, at the same time as it gives the relevant notice to the petitioner, give a copy of it to the promoter, and

( b) in any case where the request results in the Oireachtas Commission making a request under subsection (2), it shall, at the same time as it gives the second-mentioned request to the petitioner, give a copy of it to the promoter.

(7) The requests as to private bill legal costs (promoter) which the Oireachtas Commission may make under this section include a request that a petitioner shall pay any or any combination of the following:

( a) a proportion of the promoter’s such costs;

( b) a stated amount in respect of the promoter’s such costs;

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

( d) such costs relating to particular steps taken in relation to the private bill;

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

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

( a) a signed bill of costs, prepared in accordance with the guidelines (if any) issued under section 56 , showing how that amount was calculated,

( b) a copy of this Part,

( c) a copy of Part 9 ,

( d) a copy of the guidelines (if any) issued under section 56 , and

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