Consumer Protection Act 2007

Provision for co-operation between Agency and certain prescribed bodies.

21.— (1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of this section, there shall be entered into between the Agency and every one of the prescribed bodies one or more agreements for the purposes of—

(a) facilitating co-operation between the Agency and the prescribed bodies in the performance of their respective functions in so far as they relate to issues of consumer protection and welfare,

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

(c) enabling the Agency to be consulted in relation to any decisions by prescribed bodies which affect consumers,

(d) where appropriate, conducting joint studies or analysis of matters relating to consumer protection or issues of concern to consumers,

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 Agency 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 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 or any other enactment, or

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

in respect of an alleged contravention of a provision of this Act 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, where relevant, the Minister or Ministers of the Government with responsibility for the prescribed body concerned shall each be furnished by the Agency with a copy of every co-operation agreement (including any variation of the agreement) that has been made within 1 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 or Ministers of the Government with responsibility for the prescribed body concerned, notice of its making shall be published by the parties in such manner as they think fit.

(7) Such a notice shall state that a copy of the agreement concerned (including the agreement as varied) may be inspected at such place, or by such means as is specified in the notice and that a copy of the agreement may be purchased from the parties in such manner as is so specified (and a copy of the agreement shall, accordingly, be made available for such inspection and be made available for such purchase (at a cost not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy or, where appropriate, such cost and the amount of any postage involved)).

(8) Without prejudice to subsection (9), nothing in any enactment shall be read as preventing the provisions of a co-operation agreement from having effect in accordance with their terms.

(9) 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.

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

(11) (a) In this section “ prescribed body” means each of the following:

(i) the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority;

(ii) a body prescribed by the Minister.

(b) Before prescribing a body for which another Minister of the Government has responsibility, the Minister shall consult with that other Minister of the Government.

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

(12) In this section “ 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.