The appointment of an examiner to companies in difficulty became possible following the emergency enactment of the Companies Act 1990. The examinership provisions arose as a result of the imminent collapse of the Goodman Group of companies, with the attendant catastrophic effect this would have had on the Irish beef industry in particular, and the spin-off effects it would have had on the economy as a whole with its agricultural basis at that time.
The Irish legislation reflects the pro-active self-help provisions of U.S. Chapter 11 type protection afforded to companies. In this regard, it is distinguished from the rather more onerous administration provisions of U.K. company law.
The activities of a company under the protection of the Courts are subject to the scrutiny of a Judge.
The system is almost self-regulating because with few accountants and solicitors operating within the area, their integrity as officers of the Court is of paramount importance. Where the assigned Judge finds that the highest standards have not been met by the company or the examiner or that there has been any failure by petitioners for the protection of the court to disclose all material facts the Courts have been unequivocal about removing the company from the protection formerly afforded to it.
At the very outset, this analysis does not purport to set out an exhaustive statement of the law or practice in examinerships, insolvency or corporate recovery.
It is meant to highlight certain circumstances whereby the owners and management of companies should consider the appointment of an examiner as potentially a positive step for both the company and it’s creditors, following a period of difficult trading conditions.