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The Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Defective accounts

Persons authorised to apply to court in connection with defective accounts

12.—(1) Article 253C of the 1986 Order (other persons authorised to apply to court) is amended as follows.

(2) After paragraph (1) insert—

(1A) But where the order giving authorisation is to contain any requirements or other provisions specified under paragraph (4A), the Department may not authorise a person unless, in addition, it appears to the Department that the person would, if authorised, exercise his functions as an authorised person in accordance with any such requirements or provisions..

(3) After paragraph (4) insert—

(4A) An order under paragraph (4) may contain such requirements or other provisions relating to the exercise of functions by the authorised person as appear to the Department to be appropriate.

(4B) If the authorised person is an unincorporated association, any relevant proceedings may be brought by or against that association in the name of any body corporate whose constitution provides for the establishment of the association.

(4C) For the purposes of paragraph (4B) “relevant proceedings” means proceedings brought in, or in connection with, the exercise of any function by the association as an authorised person..

Power of person authorised to require documents, information and explanations

13.—(1) After Article 253E of the 1986 Order (restrictions on use and further disclosure of information disclosed under Article 253D) insert—

Power of authorised persons to require documents, information and explanations

253F.(1) This Article applies where it appears to a person who is authorised under Article 253C that there is, or may be, a question whether the annual accounts of a company comply with the requirements of this Order.

(2) The authorised person may require any of the persons mentioned in paragraph (3) to produce any document, or to provide him with any information or explanations, that he may reasonably require for the purpose of—

(a)discovering whether there are grounds for an application to the court under Article 253B; or

(b)determining whether or not to make such an application.

(3) Those persons are—

(a)the company;

(b)any officer, employee, or auditor of the company;

(c)any persons who fell within sub-paragraph (b) at a time to which the document or information required by the authorised person relates.

(4) If a person fails to comply with a requirement under paragraph (2), the authorised person may apply to the court for an order under paragraph (5).

(5) If on such an application the court decides that the person has failed to comply with the requirement under paragraph (2), it may order the person to take such steps as it directs for securing that the documents are produced or the information or explanations are provided.

(6) A statement made by a person in response to a requirement under paragraph (2) or an order under paragraph (5) may not be used in evidence against him in any criminal proceedings.

(7) Nothing in this Article compels any person to disclose documents or information in respect of which in an action in the High Court a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained.

(8) In this Article “document” includes information recorded in any form.

Restrictions on further disclosure of information obtained under Article 253F

253G.(1) This Article applies to information (in whatever form) which—

(a)has been obtained in pursuance of a requirement or order under Article 253F, and

(b)relates to the private affairs of an individual or to any particular business.

(2) No such information may, during the lifetime of that individual or so long as that business continues to be carried on, be disclosed without the consent of that individual or the person for the time being carrying on that business.

(3) Paragraph (2) does not apply to any disclosure of information which—

(a)is made for the purpose of facilitating the carrying out by a person authorised under Article 253C of his functions under Article 253B;

(b)is made to a person specified in Part I of Schedule 7B;

(c)is of a description specified in Part II of that Schedule; or

(d)is made in accordance with Part III of that Schedule.

(4) The Department may by order amend Schedule 7B.

(5) An order under paragraph (4) must not—

(a)amend Part I of Schedule 7B by specifying a person unless the person exercises functions of a public nature (whether or not he exercises any other function);

(b)amend Part II of Schedule 7B by adding or modifying a description of disclosure unless the purpose for which the disclosure is permitted is likely to facilitate the exercise of a function of a public nature;

(c)amend Part III of Schedule 7B so as to have the effect of permitting disclosures to be made to a body other than one that exercises functions of a public nature in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

(6) An order under paragraph (4) shall be subject to negative resolution.

(7) A person who discloses any information in contravention of this Article—

(a)is guilty of an offence, and

(b)is liable on conviction to imprisonment or a fine, or both.

(8) However, it is a defence for a person charged with an offence under paragraph (7) to prove—

(a)that he did not know, and had no reason to suspect, that the information had been disclosed under Article 253F; or

(b)that he took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.

(9) Articles 680, 680A and 680B apply to offences under this Article.

(10) This Article does not prohibit the disclosure of information if the information is or has been available to the public from any other source.

(11) Nothing in this Article authorises the making of a disclosure in contravention of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29)..

(2) Schedule 1 (which inserts Schedule 7B in the 1986 Order) has effect.

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