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

58.

Awarding of private bill legal costs (petitioner) to petitioners.

58.— (1) Subject to the guidelines (if any) issued under section 56 , subsection (5) and section 96(1) and (2), where, in proceedings of the Oireachtas on a private bill—

( a) a committee decides—

(i) that the preamble to the private bill has not been proved, or

(ii) to amend the private bill in order to protect a petitioner,

and

( b) the committee has given a petitioner (in this section referred to as the “relevant petitioner”) a notice in writing stating—

(i) that the committee believes that the relevant petitioner has been unreasonably exposed to costs in defending his or her rights with which the private bill proposes to interfere, and

(ii) setting out the grounds for that belief,

the Oireachtas Commission shall, at the request in the specified form of the relevant petitioner, give a copy of that notice to the promoter 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 relevant petitioner, of such costs 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 promoter to whom those grounds relate to pay to the relevant petitioner, not later than 60 days after the request is made, the amount specified in the request, being the private bill costs (petitioner) that the Oireachtas Commission believes that the relevant petitioner has incurred relating to those grounds so confirmed.

(3) Where the promoter 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 (petitioner) 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 promoter may be requested to pay private bill legal costs (petitioner) under this section even though the unreasonable 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 promoter being punished for contempt or the bringing of proceedings in respect of the offence or unreasonable behaviour concerned.

(5) Where a request in the specified form under subsection (1) is made to the Oireachtas Commission by the relevant petitioner—

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

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

( a) a proportion of the relevant petitioner’s such costs;

( b) a stated amount in respect of the relevant petitioner’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.

(7) 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 ,

( 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.