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Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

8Auditors' rights to information
This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

For section 389A of the Companies Act 1985 (c. 6) substitute—

389ARights to information

(1)An auditor of a company—

(a)has a right of access at all times to the company’s books, accounts and vouchers (in whatever form they are held), and

(b)may require any of the persons mentioned in subsection (2) to provide him with such information or explanations as he thinks necessary for the performance of his duties as auditor.

(2)Those persons are—

(a)any officer or employee of the company;

(b)any person holding or accountable for any of the company’s books, accounts or vouchers;

(c)any subsidiary undertaking of the company which is a body corporate incorporated in Great Britain;

(d)any officer, employee or auditor of any such subsidiary undertaking or any person holding or accountable for any books, accounts or vouchers of any such subsidiary undertaking;

(e)any person who fell within any of paragraphs (a) to (d) at a time to which the information or explanations required by the auditor relates or relate.

(3)Where a parent company has a subsidiary undertaking which is not a body corporate incorporated in Great Britain, the auditor of the parent company may require it to obtain from any of the persons mentioned in subsection (4) such information or explanations as he may reasonably require for the purposes of his duties as auditor.

(4)Those persons are—

(a)the undertaking;

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

(c)any person holding or accountable for any of the undertaking’s books, accounts or vouchers;

(d)any person who fell within paragraph (b) or (c) at a time to which the information or explanations relates or relate.

(5)If so required, the parent company must take all such steps as are reasonably open to it to obtain the information or explanations from the person within subsection (4) from whom the auditor has required the company to obtain the information or explanations.

(6)A statement made by a person in response to a requirement under subsection (1)(b) or (3) may not be used in evidence against him in any criminal proceedings except proceedings for an offence under section 389B.

(7)Nothing in this section or section 389B compels any person to disclose information in respect of which in an action in the High Court a claim to legal professional privilege, or in an action in the Court of Session a claim to confidentiality of communications, could be maintained.

389BOffences relating to the provision of information to auditors

(1)If a person knowingly or recklessly makes to an auditor of a company a statement (oral or written) that—

(a)conveys or purports to convey any information or explanations which the auditor requires, or is entitled to require, under section 389A(1)(b), and

(b)is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular,

the person is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment or a fine, or both.

(2)A person who fails to comply with a requirement under section 389A(1)(b) without delay is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine.

(3)However, it is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) to prove that it was not reasonably practicable for him to provide the required information or explanations.

(4)If a company fails to comply with section 389A(5), the company and every officer of it who is in default is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine.

(5)Nothing in this section affects any right of an auditor to apply for an injunction to enforce any of his rights under section 389A.

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