RegSol Blog

Establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority

July 2022

The Corporate Enforcement Authority ("CEA") has been established with effect from 7th July 2022, following the commencement of the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Act 2021 (the “2021 Act”) on 6th July 2022. 

The CEA will replace the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (“ODCE”) and assumes the ODCE’s powers and functions in the investigation and prosecuting suspected breaches of company law with some changes to reflect the new structure of the body.


The CEA’s new functions include encouraging compliance with the Companies Act 2014, investigating suspected offences and non-compliance under the Companies Act, prosecution of summary offences, referring indictable offences to the DPP, as well as being the competent authority to impose sanctions on company directors under the Companies (Statutory Audits) Act 2018.

The key difference between the CEA and the ODCE is the CEA’s establishment as an independent body, as opposed to an office in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, which will ensure that the CEA has greater autonomy than the ODCE. The CEA will have autonomy to recruit its own staff with necessary specialist expertise (for example, in the areas of financial forensics and data analytics) which will enable the CEA to better investigate complex enforcement cases. 

The 2021 Act also provides that members of An Garda Síochána may be seconded to the CEA. It is also expected that the CEA will be granted additional powers in the future including, the power to conduct surveillance, to obtain search warrants, to compel the provision of passwords for electronic devices and to permit CEA officials to attend suspect interviews.

The 2021 Act also provides for a number of state bodies - An Garda Síochána, the Competition and Consumer Protection Committee, the Registrar of Companies and the Revenue Commissioners - being required to disclose certain information to the CEA relating to the commission of an offence under the Companies Act 2014. Members of the public are also actively encouraged by the CEA to submit complaints and concerns to it where there is an indication of non-compliance with company law.


The establishment of the CEA is an important step in the deterrence of white-collar crime in Ireland and in the promotion of Ireland as a safe haven to carry out business. With the CEA’s increased staffing and resourcing it is likely that increases in the investigation and enforcement of company law breaches will be seen in the near future.