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Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004

Section 28 - Appeal Officer; and Schedule 4 - Appeal Officer for Community Interest Companies

201.This section creates the office of Appeal Officer and sets out his functions.  The Appeal Officer is to be appointed by the Secretary of State (subsection (2)), and the terms of appointment are set out in Schedule 4.  These provisions are intended to ensure that the Appeal Officer remains independent of the Regulator.

202.The Appeal Officer's role is to hear appeals against decisions of the Regulator (subsection (3)).  Only those decisions against which a right of appeal is provided in the Act, including regulations made under the Act or in other legislation, may be the subject of an appeal to the Appeal Officer.  Such a right of appeal is provided for in sections 36(10), 38(10), 45(13), 47(14), 48(13) and (14), 49(5) and (6) and 55(8).  It is intended that additional rights of appeal to the Appeal Officer will be included in regulations relating to the distribution of assets on winding-up (section 31) and approvals of changes of objects (section 32(6)).

203.The Appeal Officer will be able to consider appeals on matters of law and of fact (subsection (4)).  The Appeal Officer will be able to dismiss or allow an appeal, or to report his findings on the facts and his rulings on the law to the Regulator, who will then be obliged to review the decision in the light of those findings and rulings (subsections (5) and (6)).  The decisions of the Regulator will, of course, also be subject to judicial review.

204.Subsection (7) gives effect to Schedule 4.  Schedule 4 sets out the Appeal Officer’s terms of appointment, remuneration and financing (paragraphs 1 to 3), and provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations about the procedures to be followed by the Appeal Officer.  Paragraphs 5 and 6 make the Appeal Officer subject to investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner, and disqualify the Appeal Officer from membership of the House of Commons.

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