In a recent decision of the High Court relating to proceedings brought by Mr Gregory Colclough against The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Mr Justice Max Barrett granted an order setting aside judicial review proceedings which were brought against the ACCA by an Irish accountant.
Although it does not have any statutory establishment here in Ireland, the ACCA has a representative branch office in Dublin which has a purely administrative role. In this regard, it appears that up until a recent High Court decision on 21st February 2018, the ACCA had never previously been the subject of judicial review or equivalent application in any jurisdiction outside the United Kingdom.
The key issue arising from the proceedings related to whether the ACCA, a company incorporated by Royal Charter and having its global head-office in London, can properly be the subject of judicial review proceedings in Ireland.
Mr Colclough was a chartered certified accountant who was certified by ACCA with an audit qualification. Arising from a professional standards monitoring visit carried out in May 2012 for ACCA by a London-based employee of ACCA, Mr Colclough was referred to the Admissions and Licensing Committee (the “Committee”) of ACCA. The Committee concluded that he was not a fit and proper person to retain an audit qualification and, inter alia, required that Mr Colclough be issued with a practising certificate without an audit qualification.
Pursuant to ACCA’s Appeal Regulations 2014, Mr Colclough applied to the ACCA’s Appeal Committee Chairman for permission to appeal the decision. This permission was refused, which refusal Mr Colclough contended was invalid and/ or failed to comply with constitutional justice.
Mr Colclough sought to appeal the decision of the Appeal Committee Chairman, and the Appeal Committee determined that there was no basis upon which it would consider the refusal of permission to appeal. Mr Colclough contended that the decision of the Appeal Committee was ultra vires; irrational; in breach of fair procedures and disproportionate.
Consequently, Mr Colclough was granted leave by the High Court to bring judicial review proceedings seeking some eleven reliefs, after which the ACCA issued a notice of motion seeking inter alia an Order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court dismissing or staying the proceedings inter aliaon the basis that the High Court does not have jurisdiction to deal with the matter, pursuant to Order 11 or Order 11A of the Rules of the Superior Courts.
In dismissing the judicial review proceedings, Mr Justic Max Barrett found that the ACCA is not amenable to judicial review in Ireland and, rather, is amenable to judicial review in England and Wales. Mr Justice Barrett made an order that the service on ACCA of the notice of motion of judicial review proceedings be set aside and that the proceedings be dismissed.
The judgment can be accessed here.