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Enterprise Act 2002

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Sections 224 and 225: OFT & Other enforcers

562.These sections provide the OFT, other general enforcers and designated enforcers who are public bodies, with a statutory power to require information (including documents) by means of a notice served on any person.

563.These enforcers will be able to request this information for the purpose of enabling them to consider whether to exercise their functions under this Part (section 224(2)(a) and section 225(3)(a)). This may be the case, for example, where it is not possible on the basis of ad hoc complaints from consumers to determine whether the cause of complaint is the result of an accidental mistake or part of a deliberate pattern of unlawful conduct (e.g. mail order companies sending out goods different from those that were ordered).

564.These enforcers will also be able to request information for the purpose of monitoring compliance with enforcement orders (including interim enforcement orders) and undertakings, to enable them to decide whether to bring further proceedings under section 220 to enforce a court order or an undertaking given to the court or, in the case of undertakings given to an enforcer, to make an application for an enforcement order (including an interim enforcement order) under section 215. A general enforcer other than the OFT or a designated enforcer that is a public body can only use this power to enable it to exercise any functions it has under this Part (such an enforcer may be designated only in respect of certain kinds of infringement) or to monitor compliance with an enforcement order or undertaking made in proceedings it has brought or with an undertaking given voluntarily to it. No such restriction applies in relation to the OFT, in part because the OFT will have the power to bring a further application to enforce a court order or undertaking given to the court in proceedings brought by any enforcer (section 224(2)(d) and section 225(3)(b)).

565.Neither designated enforcers that are private bodies nor Community enforcers will have a statutory power to request information themselves. The OFT will therefore have power to request information on behalf of these enforcers to enable them to consider whether to exercise their functions under this Part (section 224(b) and (c)).

Sections 226 and 227: Notices: procedure and enforcement

566.Section 226 sets out the procedure for notices under sections 224 and 225. They are required to be in writing. In accordance with the ordinary meaning of “writing”, notices may in principle be given in electronic communications.

567.Section 227 sets out the remedies that are available where a notice is not complied with.

568.If a person fails to furnish the information requested within the time specified, an application may be made by the enforcer that served the notice to the court for an order requiring the default in compliance to be made good. The court for this purpose is a court which may make an enforcement order, that is, the High Court or a county court or their Scottish equivalents.

569.Where the court is satisfied that the person has failed to comply with a notice and that the information is reasonably required for the purposes set out in sections 224 and 225, it may make an order requiring the person to do anything it is necessary to do to comply with the notice. Where the court makes such an order, it may order costs against the person in default or, if the person is a corporate body, against any of its officers responsible for the default.

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