A new Corporate Enforcement Authority (CEA) has been established in Ireland following the commencement of the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Act 2021.
The new Corporate Enforcement Authority has been formally established in Ireland according to the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Act 2021 (the “Act”) in order to enhance the fight against white-collar crime. Despite this Act being signed into law on 22 December 2021, the orders providing for its commencement were adopted on the 5th and 6th of July 2022.
The Corporate Enforcement Authority replaces the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Still, this Authority is a new independent agency provided with more staff and resources to investigate and prosecute breaches of company law. As the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee commented, “The significant investment in an independent and more powerful Corporate Enforcement Authority will strengthen our deterrence and is yet another demonstration of the government's commitment to tackling crime.”
The functions of the Authority under this Act are, among other things, to encourage compliance, investigate instances of suspected offences and non-compliance, prosecute offences by way of summary proceedings, refer cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions in case of indictable offences, and ensure the effective application of obligations, standards, and procedures.
The Corporate Crime Observatory is also currently monitoring reforms of Law Enforcement Agencies. Establishing independent agencies with sufficient resources and specialised staff is one of the most relevant priorities to counter economic crime.