Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014

Provision for co-operation between Commission and certain prescribed bodies

19. (1) The Commission may enter into an arrangement or arrangements with each of the prescribed bodies for the purposes of—

(a) facilitating co-operation between the Commission and the prescribed bodies in the performance of their respective functions in so far as they relate to—

(i) consumer protection and welfare issues, or

(ii) issues of competition between undertakings,

(b) avoiding duplication of activities by the Commission and any of the prescribed bodies,

(c) ensuring, as far as practicable, consistency between decisions made or other steps taken by the Commission and the prescribed bodies in so far as any part of those decisions or steps consists of or relates to—

(i) consumer protection and welfare or issues of concern to consumers, or

(ii) a determination of any issue of competition between undertakings,

(d) enabling the Commission to be consulted in relation to any decisions by prescribed bodies which affect consumers or issues of competition between undertakings, or

(e) where appropriate, conducting joint studies or analyses of matters relating to consumer protection and welfare, issues of concern to consumers or issues of competition,

and each such agreement that is entered into is referred to in this section as a “co-operation agreement”.

(2) It shall not be necessary for the purposes of subsection (1) that the same prescribed bodies be party to each agreement entered into with the Commission in pursuance of that subsection.

(3) A co-operation agreement shall include provisions—

(a) enabling each party to furnish to another party information in its possession if the information is required by that other party for the purpose of the performance by it of any of its functions,

(b) enabling each party to forbear to perform any of its functions in relation to a matter in circumstances where it is satisfied that another party is performing functions in relation to that matter,

(c) requiring each party to consult with any other party before performing any functions in circumstances where the respective exercise by each party of the functions concerned involves the determination of issues of consumer protection and welfare or competition issues that are identical to one another or are within the same category of such an issue, being a category specified in the co-operation agreement, and

(d) ensuring that no person is the subject of—

(i) proceedings (whether civil or criminal) under this Act, the Act of 2002, the Act of 2007 or any other enactment, or

(ii) the exercise of any power under section 73 or 75 of the Act of 2007,

in respect of an alleged contravention of a provision of this Act, the Act of 2002, the Act of 2007 or any other enactment, by more than one of the parties.

(4) A co-operation agreement may be varied by the parties concerned.

(5) The Minister and any other appropriate Minister shall each be furnished by the Commission with a copy of every co-operation agreement (including any variation of the agreement) that has been made within one month after the agreement (or the variation of it) has been made.

(6) A co-operation agreement, or any variation made to it, shall be in writing and, as soon as practicable after the agreement or variation has been made and furnished to the Minister and any other appropriate Minister, each of the parties shall arrange for it to be published on the internet.

(7) Without prejudice to subsection (8), nothing in any enactment shall be read as preventing the provisions of a co-operation agreement from having effect in accordance with their terms.

(8) If information is furnished by one party to another party pursuant to a provision of a co-operation agreement of the kind referred to in subsection (3)(a), the provisions of any enactment concerning the disclosure of that information by the first-mentioned party shall apply to the second-mentioned party with respect to that information.

(9) A failure by the Commission or a prescribed body to comply with a provision of a co- operation agreement shall not invalidate the exercise by it of any power.

(10) (a) In this section—

“appropriate Minister” means the Minister of the Government on whom functions stand conferred in relation to the prescribed body in question;

“party” means a party to a co-operation agreement and a reference to another party (whether that expression or the expression “the other party” is used) shall, where there are 2 or more other parties to the agreement, be construed as a reference to one or more of those other parties or each of them, as appropriate;

“prescribed body” means each of the following:

(i) the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland;

(ii) the Central Bank of Ireland;

(iii) the Commission for Aviation Regulation;

(iv) the Commission for Communications Regulation;

(v) the Commission for Energy Regulation;

(vi) the Data Protection Commissioner;

(vii) the Environmental Protection Agency;

(viii) the Financial Services Ombudsman;

(ix) the Food Safety Authority of Ireland;

(x) the Health Insurance Authority;

(xi) the National Transport Authority;

(xii) a body prescribed by the Minister.

(b) Before prescribing a body for the purposes of this section, the Minister shall consult with such Minister or Ministers of the Government as he or she considers appropriate.

(c) In prescribing a body for the purposes of this section the Minister shall have regard to the functions and activities of the body in so far as those functions and activities relate to consumer protection and welfare and issues of competition.