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

PART 9

Applications to High Court in Relation to Relevant Proceedings, etc.

94.

Application to Court for directions on matter relating to relevant proceedings.

94.— (1) Where a witness to or other person affected by any relevant proceedings (in this section referred to as the “objector”) is of the opinion that any matter relating to the proceedings is not being inquired into or otherwise dealt with in accordance with this Act, he or she may give the chairman of the committee a notice in writing (in this section referred to as the “notice of objection”) of that opinion and that matter and shall, in the notice, state his or her reasons for the opinion.

(2) Where the chairman of the committee is given a notice of objection, he or she shall, as soon as is practicable, give a copy of the notice to each of the other committee members and thereafter the committee shall, as soon as is practicable, consider the notice and take what it considers to be the most appropriate course of action specified in subsection (3).

(3)( a) If the committee agrees with what is stated in the notice of objection, it shall give the objector a notice in writing of its agreement and either—

(i) only continue to inquire into the matter the subject of the notice of objection, or only continue to otherwise deal with the matter, in accordance with its agreement with the notice of objection, or

(ii) cease to further inquire into the matter, or cease to otherwise deal with the matter,

as it considers appropriate.

( b) If the committee disagrees with what is stated in the notice of objection, it shall give the objector a notice in writing of its disagreement and the reasons for the disagreement.

( c) If the committee agrees in part and disagrees in part with what is stated in the notice of objection, it shall take the course of action specified in paragraph (a) in respect of the part with which it agrees and take the course of action specified in paragraph (b) in respect of the part with which it disagrees.

( d) The committee, instead of taking, in respect of the notice of objection, the course of action specified in paragraph (a), (b) or (c), may, on notice to the objector, apply in a summary manner to the Court for directions concerning what is stated in the notice of objection and, in any such case, it shall cease to inquire further into the matter the subject of the notice of objection, or cease to otherwise deal with the matter, until—

(i) the application is withdrawn or abandoned because the committee has, in respect of the notice, subsequently taken the course of action specified in paragraph (a), or

(ii) the Court gives its directions on the matter.

(4) Where the objector is given a notice under subsection (3)(b) by the committee, he or she—

( a) may give the committee a notice in writing that he or she intends to apply to the Court for directions concerning what is stated in the notice of objection, and

( b) may, within 14 days after being given such notice under subsection (3)(b) (or within such longer period (if any) as the Court may allow), apply in a summary manner, on notice to the committee, to the Court for directions concerning what is stated in the notice of objection.

(5) Subject to section 101 , where the committee is given a notice referred to in subsection (4)(a) by the objector, it shall cease to inquire further into the matter the subject of the notice of objection, or cease to otherwise deal with the matter—

( a) not sooner than 14 days after it has been given the notice referred to in that subsection without the objector having made the application concerned to the Court, or

( b) if the application is made, until—

(i) the application is withdrawn or abandoned, or

(ii) the final determination of the matter.

(6) Without prejudice to the generality of this section in respect of matters relating to relevant proceedings which may be the subject of applications to the Court under this section by the committee or objectors, any such application may relate to—

( a) immunities, privileges or liabilities referred to in section 18 or 78 ,

( b) the contents of a draft of a relevant report, or the contents of a draft of part of a relevant report, given to a person under section 35 ,

( c) the relevance to the proceedings of the committee of evidence or a document referred to in section 70 or 85 , or

( d) whether or not the prohibition in section 71(1) applies to a direction given or proposed to be given under section 67(1).

(7) The Court shall determine an application under this section for directions by giving such directions as it considers just and reasonable in the circumstances.