Can Decisions of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) be Judicially Reviewed in Ireland?

A judgment was delivered in the High Court recently in the case of Colclough -v- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants [2018] IEHC 85 which will be of interest to all Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) members in Ireland.

The key issue decided was whether the ACCA, a company registered in England and Wales and having its global head-office in London, can be the subject of Irish-law judicial review proceeding.

The ACCA had never been the subject of judicial review proceedings outside of the United Kingdom. The High Court found that the ACCA is not amenable to judicial review in Ireland. It is, however, amenable to judicial review in England and Wales. 


The ACCA is registered as a company in England and Wales since 1974 but is not similarly registered in Ireland. It has a representative office in Dublin that is used solely for administration purposes, as is the case in many other countries. All matters relating to the renewal of membership and disciplinary procedures for the 20,000 ACCA members in Ireland are conducted from ACCA’s offices in the United Kingdom.

Mr Gregory Colclough, the Applicant in the proceedings, is an Irish based accountant and a member of the ACCA. His practice was reviewed by the ACCA in 2012 for the purposes of professional standards monitoring. As a result of this visit, a decision was made to issue Mr Colclough with a practising certificate without an audit qualification. He sought permission to appeal this decision which was refused. Mr Colclough argued this breached his right to fair procedures, was ultra vires, irrational and disproportionate. He was granted leave by the High Court to bring judicial review proceedings against the ACCA.

Judicial Review Proceedings

Mr Colclough challenged the decision to refuse to grant leave to appeal on the basis that it infringed principles of constitutional justice, including fair procedures and the principle of proportionality.

The ACCA contended that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it was only amenable to judicial review in England and Wales. The relationship between the ACCA and its members is contractual in nature and all members submit to ACCA’s Bye-Laws and Regulations on attaining and renewing membership. The contract explicitly states that the jurisdiction applicable to any disputes is England and Wales.

Mr Justice Max Barrett, in making an order dismissing the judicial review proceedings, was satisfied that the ACCA was not capable of being judicially reviewed in Ireland and stated that the appropriate jurisdiction for judicial review is England and Wales.

For further information on this topic, please contact Paula Quinn at

Keywords: Publication, Paula Quinn, Disciplinary

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