Companies Act 2014

F578 [ Scope of penalties and publicity in relation to their imposition

1502.

1502. (1) The penalties referred to in section 1501 , provision for which shall be made by the means referred to in that section, shall, where appropriate, include withdrawal of approval under this Part or, if applicable, withdrawal of registration under section 1465 and a temporary prohibition referred to in point (c) of Article 30a(1) of the Audit Directive and a temporary prohibition (in so far as it relates to a member of an audit firm) referred to in point (e) of that Article.

(2) Subsection (1) is without prejudice to sections 1479 and 1480 .

(3) Unless there do not exist internal appeal procedures of a recognised accountancy body as referred to in section 1479(8)(a) or 1480(8)(a) , the reference in subsection (4) to a recognised accountancy body shall be read as a reference to a recognised accountancy body acting through the disciplinary committee that deals with matters at first instance.

(4) Without prejudice to section 930C(10) to (12) , a recognised accountancy body may, save where, in its opinion, proceeding in this manner would not be in the public interest, adopt procedures analogous to those in section 1479(4) to (6) or 1480(4) to (6) as regards affording the statutory auditor or audit firm an opportunity to rectify the matters that have occasioned the investigation concerned and the proposed exercise of the power of withdrawal of approval referred to in subsection (1) .

(5) If

(a) there exist internal appeal procedures, as referred to in section 1479(8)(a) or 1480(8)(a) , of a recognised accountancy body, and

(b) the investigation and disciplinary procedures of the recognised accountancy body provide that a decision of its disciplinary committee referred to in subsection (3) , being a decision of a nature to which this section applies, shall stand suspended or shall not take effect until, as the case may be

(i) the period for making an appeal under those procedures has expired without such an appeal having been made,

(ii) such an appeal has been made and the decision to withdraw the approval confirmed, or

(iii) such an appeal that has been made is withdrawn,

then notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this section, the operation of the withdrawal of approval by that disciplinary committee shall stand suspended until the occurrence of an event specified in paragraph (b)(i) , (ii) or (iii) .

(6) If

(a) there exist internal appeal procedures, as referred to in section 1479(8)(a) or 1480(8)(a) , of a recognised accountancy body, and

(b) the investigation and disciplinary procedures of the recognised accountancy body do not provide, as referred to in subsection (5)(b) , for the decision of the disciplinary committee referred to in that provision to stand suspended or not to take effect,

then, notwithstanding anything in those procedures, the auditor or audit firm to whom that decision relates may apply to the High Court for an order suspending the operation of the withdrawal pending the determination by the relevant appellate committee of an appeal that he or she is making under those internal appeal procedures.

(7) Where an application under subsection (6) is made to the High Court, subsections (10) to (12) apply to the application with

(a) the substitution of references to an appeal under those internal appeal procedures for references to an appeal under section 1481 , and

(b) any other necessary modifications.

(8) If the relevant appellate committee referred to in subsection (6) is of the opinion, having regard to the particular issues that have arisen on that appeal, that, in the interests of justice, the disposal by it of an appeal referred to in that subsection ought to include procedures analogous to those, as referred to in subsection (4) , provided by section 1479(4) to (6) or 1480(4) to (6) being adopted by it, then, in disposing of that appeal, it shall adopt procedures analogous to those in section 1479(4) to (6) or 1480(4) to (6) .

(9) A recognised accountancy body shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that any appeal to the relevant appellate committee referred to in subsection (6) is prosecuted promptly and it shall be the duty of that appellate committee to ensure that any such appeal to it is disposed of as expeditiously as may be and, for that purpose, to take all such steps as are open to it to ensure that, in so far as is practicable, there are no avoidable delays at any stage in the determination of such an appeal.

(10) Where a recognised accountancy body has made a decision to withdraw the approval of an auditor or audit firm under this section (that is to say, a final decision of the recognised accountancy body on the matter after the internal appeal procedures (if any) of it have been employed and exhausted), the auditor or audit firm may apply to the High Court for an order suspending the operation of the withdrawal pending the determination by the High Court of an appeal under section 1481 that he or she is making against the withdrawal.

(11) On the hearing of an application under subsection (10) , the High Court may, as it considers appropriate and having heard the recognised accountancy body concerned and, if it wishes to be so heard, the Supervisory Authority (which shall have standing to appear and be heard on the application)

(a) grant an order suspending the operation of the withdrawal, or

(b) refuse to grant such an order,

and an order under paragraph (a) may provide that the order shall not have effect unless one or more conditions specified in the order are complied with (and such conditions may include conditions requiring the auditor or audit firm not to carry out statutory audits save under the supervision of one or more other statutory auditors or audit firms or not to carry out such audits save in specified circumstances).

(12) The High Court may, on application to it by the auditor or audit firm or recognised accountancy body concerned, vary or discharge an order under subsection (11)(a) if it considers it just to do so.

(13) The fact of one or more

(a) measures having been taken against, or

(b) one or more penalties having been imposed on,

a statutory auditor or audit firm by a recognised accountancy body shall be disclosed by the recognised accountancy body to the public and that disclosure shall, if the recognised accountancy body considers it appropriate, include such further particulars with respect to the matter as it thinks fit.

(14) Subject to subsection (15) , the manner of such disclosure, and the time at which it is made, shall be such as the recognised accountancy body determines to be appropriate.

(15) The recognised accountancy body shall establish, in writing, criteria the purpose of which is to govern the determination by it of the matters referred to in subsection (14) , and those criteria shall require the prior approval of the Supervisory Authority. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F578

Inserted (21.09.2018) by Companies (Statutory Audits) Act 2018 (22/2018), s. 51, S.I. No. 366 of 2018.