Business Crime 2018 - Ireland

Author:Ms Carina Lawlor
Profession:Matheson
 
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1 General Criminal Law Enforcement

1.1 What authorities can prosecute business crimes, and are there different enforcement authorities at the national and regional levels?

Under Irish law, offences are divided between summary (minor) offences and indictable (serious) offences. In general, regulatory bodies are authorised to prosecute summary offences along with the Garda Siochána (the Irish police) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (the "DPP"). However, the DPP has the sole authority to prosecute offences on indictment (except for a limited category of offences still prosecuted at the suit of the Attorney General). In addition, there are a number of authorities that prosecute business crimes in Ireland on a summary basis. These include: the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (the "ODCE"); the Criminal Assets Bureau ("CAB"); the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (the "Revenue Commissioners"); the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the "CCPC"); and the Office of the Data Protection Commission (the "ODPC"). In relation to indictable offences, the relevant authority prepares a file and submits it to the DPP for consideration; it is then solely at the discretion of the DPP as to whether a case will be taken in respect of a suspected offence.

1.2 If there is more than one set of enforcement agencies, how are decisions made regarding the body which will investigate and prosecute a matter?

As mentioned above, only the DPP can prosecute offences on indictment. However, in relation to summary offences, offences are primarily prosecuted by the Irish police or, if there is a specific statutory provision, by the relevant authority (see question 1.3 below).

1.3 Is there any civil or administrative enforcement against business crimes? If so, what agencies enforce the laws civilly and which crimes do they combat?

Some authorities, such as those mentioned above, are empowered to take civil or administrative action against business crime. In particular:

the CCPC is empowered to take civil proceedings to enforce breaches of competition law involving anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant positions, where the public interest does not require criminal prosecution; the Revenue Commissioners can take civil enforcement action in relation to revenue offences and compel compliance with revenue law through insolvency and restitution proceedings; and by bringing criminal proceedings for breaches of the Companies Act...

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