§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will assess the advantages of requiring auditors criticised in her Department's inspectors' reports to bear part of the costs. 
§ Mr. Nigel Griffiths
[holding answer 25 June 1997]: The role of Companies Act inspectors is to investigate rather than to perform a judicial function of apportioning blame. It would therefore not he possible to recover costs from any party criticised by Companies Act inspectors. Inspectors' reports can be and often are the basis of subsequent action by the Department or by other prosecutors and/or regulators. Under section 439(2) of the Companies Act 1985 a person who is convicted on a prosecution initiated as a result of the investigation may be ordered to pay all or some of the costs of that investigation.