The Criminal Justice Act 2011 was signed into law on 2 August 2011 and various provisions of the Act were commenced with effected from 9 August 2011 by Ministerial Order.
The main purpose of the legislation is to provide for more effective investigation of white collar crime. It sets out new procedures to facilitate Garda (Police) access to information and documentation including that which is held electronically. The Act provides that it is a criminal offence to fail to furnish to the Gardaí information which could prevent the commission of white collar crime or to assist the Gardaí in an investigation into white collar crime. The Act includes provisions to protect whistleblowers.
White collar crime includes offences in the areas of banking and finance, company law, money laundering, fraud, corruption, competition, consumer protection and cyber crime.
Amongst the measures commenced with effect from 9 August are the provisions in Part 3 relating to documents and information including provisions with regard to:
- Orders to produce documents or provide information
- Provisions with regard to privileged legal material
- Concealing facts disclosed by documents
- Presumptions relating to documents
- Withholding of information
- Protection for employees from penalisation for disclosing information relating to relevant offences (whistleblowing protection)