Building and Construction Commission.  Under the Act, you do not have the right to refuse to answer questions during an examination because the answers would be self-incriminating.  However, any responses given during an examination cannot be used as evidence against you in further criminal proceedings (except under limited circumstances such as giving false statements).

If you give information under an examination notice you are not liable to any proceedings for contravening any other law because of that conduct.  Any documents inspected or copied, or information obtained from the coping or inspection of the documents, is not admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings other than in limited circumstances set out in the Act.

In relation to kept documents or records, while authorised officers have the power to retain the documents, they must allow certain people (the person who gave the documents or person entitled to possess the documents for example) to access or make copies of the relevant documents at all reasonable times.  Further, you are entitled to be supplied with a certified copy of the documents as soon as practicable.  These copies must be received in all courts and tribunals as though they were originals.

Upon entering a premises, officers must show their identity cards to the occupier or owner as soon as practicable.  While authorised officers have the power to enter premises (without force) they can only do so under certain circumstances, such as if they believe building work is being performed, there has been a breach of the Act, or, for business premises, they believe there are documents relevant to compliance purposes on, or accessible from, the premises.  Under the Act there are further restrictions regarding entry.  If you have questions regarding whether the entry of officers is lawful, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice.

Obtaining legal advice when under an investigation, particularly regarding examination notices, is a very important step to protect your rights and interests.  Robertson O’Gorman regularly assist and appear on behalf of individuals under these circumstances.  We understand that experienced lawyers are key to protecting you during investigations or inquiries.