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The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in Irelandmarker was set up by the Irish Government on November 28 2001 as a consequence of the proceedings and the conclusions of various review groups, courts, tribunals of inquiry and parliamentary committees in recent years. These have revealed evidence that provisions in Irish company law and other legislation have been regularly breached and that some entities and individuals have not been called to account. The result is that various parties, e.g., the State, other businesses and consumers, have borne the cost of this misbehaviour and the associated business risks. Following a fundamental review, the Irish Government determined inter-alia that there were insufficient resources and legal instruments available to the State to supervise and enforce adherence to the requirements of company law and that it was necessary to correct these deficiencies in the public interest.

The first Director is Paul Appleby. His 30-person team comprises accountants, lawyers and seven members of the Garda Siochana. He is legally responsible for:

  • encouraging compliance with company law

  • investigating and enforcing suspected breaches of the legislation

  • bringing to account those who disregard the law

The Director and his team operate on an independent basis with the aim of reducing personal and business risk and improving the overall standard of public compliance. The powers of the Office are set out in the Company Law Enforcement Act 2001 and has an annual operating budget of approximately €3 million. Many of the initiatives of the Office are taken in the general public interest.

Compliance role

The Director seeks to foster compliance with the law and the consequences of non-compliance through presentations, public communication, consultation with professional bodies and engagement with all branches of government that facilitate compliance.

Enforcement role

The investigative and enforcement role is quite extensive and encompasses:

  • the initiation of fact-finding company investigations. There were 2,111 new cases in 2005 (1,577 in 2004)

  • prosecutions related to breaches of company law. There were 69 legal proceedings in 2005 (61 in 2004)

  • the supervision of companies in liquidation or insolvent

  • the supervision of liquidators and receivers

  • the regulation of undischaged bankrupts acting as company officers


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