Lawyers at William Fry have said that businesses need to be aware of the potential impact of new legislation on perjury, which came into effect last month.
The Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Act 2021 provides, for the first time, a statutory definition of perjury.
The legislation is aimed at making it easier for perjury and related offences to be prosecuted in the courts.
In a note on the firm’s website, Gail Nohilly and Aileen Fitzmaurice say that the act was introduced as part of the wider reforms to the insurance sector, and the perceived compensation culture in Ireland.
They warn, however, that it will have a wider impact, adding that businesses need to be aware of the range of offences under the act, and the possibility of the imposition of criminal liability on directors, managers, secretaries, and other officers.
“Offences under the act may be committed by business in making tax returns, false accounts, accounting records or annual returns,” the lawyers write.
The note states that, in theory, the new law should lead to increased prosecutions for perjury.
“However, whether convictions follow remains to be seen, with the requirement for actual knowledge on the part of the person allegedly committing the offence, and a requirement for corroborated evidence to prove the offence,” the William Fry lawyers conclude.