Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

80.

Powers of Disciplinary Tribunal as to taking of evidence, etc.

80.  (1) The Disciplinary Tribunal shall, for the purposes of any inquiry under this Part, have the powers, rights and privileges vested in the High Court or a judge thereof on the hearing of an action, in respect of—

(a) the enforcement of the attendance of witnesses and their examination on oath or on affirmation,

(b) the compelling of the production of documents, and

(c) the compelling of the discovery under oath or under affirmation of documents, and a summons signed by a member of the Disciplinary Tribunal may be substituted for and shall be equivalent to any formal procedure capable of being issued in an action for enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production and the discovery under oath or under affirmation of documents.

(2) The Disciplinary Tribunal may require the Authority and the legal practitioner concerned to submit in writing an outline of the evidence expected to be given by each of the witnesses whom they propose to have summoned to attend the hearing.

(3) The Disciplinary Tribunal may, if of opinion that the evidence expected to be given by any witness whom it is proposed to have summoned to attend the hearing is irrelevant or does not add materially to that proposed to be given by other witnesses and that accordingly the attendance of the witness at the inquiry is likely to give rise to unnecessary delay or expense, so inform the Authority or the legal practitioner concerned, as the case may be, and bring to the attention of the Authority or legal practitioner the provisions of subsection (4).

(4) On the completion of the inquiry the Disciplinary Tribunal, whether or not it has acted in accordance with subsection (3), may, if of opinion that the attendance of any witness summoned at the request of the Authority or the legal practitioner concerned was unnecessary and thereby involved the witness in avoidable expense, by order direct that the Authority or the legal practitioner concerned, as the case may be, shall pay a specified amount or amounts not exceeding €1,000 to the witness in respect of the expense incurred, and the witness may recover the sum or sums from the Authority or legal practitioner, as the case may be, as a simple contract debt.

(5) Before making an order under subsection (4), the Disciplinary Tribunal shall notify in writing the Authority or the legal practitioner concerned that it proposes to do so and shall consider any representations that may be made to it in writing by the person concerned within 14 days after the notification.

(6) The Authority or the legal practitioner concerned in respect of whom an order has been made under subsection (4) may appeal to the High Court against the order within 21 days of the receipt by him or her of notification of the making of the order, and the Court may make such order on the appeal as it thinks fit.

(7) If a person—

(a) on being duly summoned as a witness before the Disciplinary Tribunal, without just cause or excuse disobeys the summons,

(b) being in attendance as a witness before the Disciplinary Tribunal, refuses to take an oath or make an affirmation when required by the Disciplinary Tribunal to do so, or to produce or discover under oath or under affirmation any documents in his or her possession or under his or her control or within his or her procurement required by the Disciplinary Tribunal to be produced or discovered under oath or under affirmation by him or her, or to answer any question to which the Disciplinary Tribunal may require an answer,

(c) wilfully gives evidence to the Disciplinary Tribunal which is material to its inquiry which he or she knows to be false or does not believe to be true,

(d) by act or omission, obstructs or hinders the Disciplinary Tribunal in the performance of its functions, or

(e) fails, neglects or refuses to comply with the provisions of an order made by the Disciplinary Tribunal,

the person shall be guilty of an offence.

(8) A witness before the Disciplinary Tribunal shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness before the High Court.

(9) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a class B fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €30,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

(10) Section 13 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 shall apply in relation to an offence under this section as if, in lieu of the penalties specified in subsection (3) of that section, there were specified therein the penalties provided for by subsection (9), and the reference in subsection (2) (a) of that section to the penalties provided for in subsection (3) of that section shall be construed accordingly.

(11) A reference in this section and section 81 to the Authority shall be deemed, in the case of an inquiry the application for which was made by the Law Society under section 77(b) , to include a reference to the Law Society.