Companies Act 2014

934.

Investigation of possible breaches of standards of prescribed accountancy bodies

F292 [ 934. (1) In this section

client includes an individual, a body corporate, an unincorporated body of persons and a partnership;

relevant person

(a) in relation to an investigation of a member or former member of a prescribed accountancy body, means

(i) that member or any other member or former member of the prescribed accountancy body,

(ii) a client or former client of the member,

(iii) if the client or former client is a body corporate, a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of the client or former client,

(iv) the prescribed accountancy body or a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of that body,

(v) if the member is an individual, a person who is or was an employee or agent of the member,

(vi) if the member is a firm, a person who is or was an officer, member, partner, employee or agent of the firm, or

(vii) any person whom the Supervisory Authority reasonably believes has information or documents relating to the investigation other than information or documents the disclosure of which is prohibited or restricted by law,

and

(b) in relation to an investigation of a statutory auditor or former statutory auditor, means

(i) that auditor and any other statutory auditor or former statutory auditor who is or was a member of the same recognised accountancy body as the first-mentioned statutory auditor,

(ii) a client or former client of the auditor,

(iii) if the client or former client is a body corporate, a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of the client or former client,

(iv) the recognised accountancy body or a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of that body,

(v) if the auditor is an individual, a person who is or was an employee or agent of the auditor,

(vi) if the auditor is or was an audit firm, a person who is or was an officer, member, partner, employee or agent of the auditor, or

(vii) any person whom the Supervisory Authority reasonably believes has information or documents relating to the investigation other than information or documents the disclosure of which is prohibited or restricted by law.

(2) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) and subsection (3) , the Supervisory Authority may undertake an investigation into a possible relevant contravention committed by a specified person

(i) following a complaint, or

(ii) on its own initiative.

(b) The Supervisory Authority shall not undertake an investigation into a possible relevant contravention committed by a specified person who falls within paragraph (a) of the definition of specified person unless the Supervisory Authority is of the opinion that it is appropriate or in the public interest to do so.

(3) An investigation shall not be undertaken into a matter that is or has been the subject of an enquiry under section 933 relating to the specified person except with the permission of the court granted on application under section 933(5) .

(4) For the purposes of an investigation under this section, the Supervisory Authority may require a relevant person to do one or more of the following:

(a) produce to the Supervisory Authority all books or documents relating to the investigation that are in the relevant person s possession or control;

(b) attend before the Supervisory Authority;

(c) give the Supervisory Authority any other assistance in connection with the investigation that the relevant person is reasonably able to give.

(5) For the purposes of an investigation under this section, the Supervisory Authority may

(a) examine on oath, either by word of mouth or on written interrogatories, a relevant person,

(b) administer oaths for the purposes of the examination, and

(c) record, in writing, the answers of a person so examined and require that person to sign them.

(6) The Supervisory Authority may certify the refusal or failure to the court if a relevant person refuses or fails to do one or more of the following:

(a) produce to the Supervisory Authority any book or document that it is the person s duty under this section to produce;

(b) attend before the Supervisory Authority when required to do so under this section;

(c) answer a question put to the person by the Supervisory Authority with respect to the matter under investigation.

(7) On receiving a certificate of refusal or failure concerning a relevant person, the court may enquire into the case and after hearing any evidence that may be adduced, may do one or more of the following:

(a) direct that the relevant person attend or re-attend before the Supervisory Authority or produce particular books or documents or answer particular questions put to him or her by the Supervisory Authority;

(b) direct that the relevant person need not produce particular books or documents or answer particular questions put to him or her by the Supervisory Authority;

(c) make any other ancillary or consequential order or give any other direction that the court thinks fit.

(8) Subject to sections 934G and 941(4) and (4A) , if, in the case of a specified person who falls within paragraph (a) of the definition of specified person , the Supervisory Authority finds that the person committed a relevant contravention, the Supervisory Authority may impose on the person such sanction to which the person is liable under the approved constitution and bye laws of the prescribed accountancy body of which the person is a member (including a monetary sanction) as the Supervisory Authority considers appropriate after having regard to the circumstances referred to in section 934D(2) .

(9) Subject to section 941(4) and (4A) , if, in the case of a specified person who falls within paragraph (b) of the definition of specified person , the Supervisory Authority finds that the person has committed a relevant contravention, the Supervisory Authority may impose such relevant sanction on the person as the Supervisory Authority considers appropriate after having regard to the circumstances referred to in section 934D(2) .

(10) Subject to subsection (15) and section 941(4) and (4A) , if subsection (8) or (9) applies, the costs incurred by the Supervisory Authority in investigating and determining a matter under this section (other than any costs of or incidental to an enquiry by the court under subsection (7) ) shall be defrayed by, in the case of a specified person who falls within paragraph (a) of the definition of specified person , the prescribed accountancy body of which the specified person is a member and, in any other case, by the specified person.

(11) Subject to subsection (12) , the specified person who is the subject of a relevant decision made by the Supervisory Authority may appeal to the court against the decision.

(12) An appeal under subsection (11) shall be brought within 3 months after the date on which the specified person concerned was notified by the Supervisory Authority of the relevant decision.

(13) The prescribed accountancy body or specified person, as appropriate, may appeal to the court against a decision made by the Supervisory Authority specifying an amount of costs under subsection (10) .

(14) An appeal under subsection (13) shall be brought within 3 months after the date on which the prescribed accountancy body or specified person, as appropriate, was notified by the Supervisory Authority of the decision.

(15) For the purposes of subsection (10)

(a) the Supervisory Authority may prescribe by regulations

(i) that specified procedures and methods of calculation shall apply in the determination of the amount of costs so incurred by it, and

(ii) requirements otherwise as to the liability of, as appropriate, the prescribed accountancy body or specified person for, and the manner in which that body or person shall pay, that amount,

and

(b) in default of payment of that amount to the Supervisory Authority, the Authority may recover that amount as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(16) The production of any books or documents under this section by a person who claims a lien on them does not prejudice the lien.

(17) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the undertaking of one investigation under this section into 2 or more possible relevant contraventions committed by the same specified person where one or more of such possible contraventions fall within paragraph (a) of the definition of relevant contravention and one or more of such possible contraventions fall within paragraph (b) of that definition. ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F292

Substituted (21.09.2018) by Companies (Statutory Audits) Act 2018 (22/2018), s. 34, S.I. No. 366 of 2018.

Editorial Notes:

E93

Previous affecting provision: subs. (9) amended (9.06.2017) by Companies (Accounting) Act 2017 (9/2017), s. 72(a), S.I. No. 246 of 2017, art. 3, subject to transitional provision in art. 4; section substituted as per F-note above.