Lords Amendment No. 110

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 22nd July 2002.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers) 6:00 pm, 22nd July 2002

My Lords, this part of the reason is no more brief than other reasons assigned by the Commons. For example, the reason in Lords Amendment No. 99 is:

"Because it is not appropriate to create a preference for unsecured creditors, which would be open to abuse by criminals".

Again, the same formulation of words, that it is not appropriate to provide exceptions, is used. Any Member of the House who listened or participated on Report and at Third Reading will know that whether it is appropriate to provide an exception is at the heart of the disagreement between the Government and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick.

Let me develop what the exception would be. Someone who is said to be the perpetrator of unlawful conduct that gives rise to the property should not be subject to Part 5 if the person says that he wants to be tried in the Crown Court, and such a trial does not take place, or it takes place but does not result in a conviction.

That is an enormous exception, which is at the heart of the disagreement between us. While I regret the situation that has resulted from the points made by your Lordships today, but which will be studied with great care, the fact remains that there is a fundamental difference between what the noble and learned Lord proposed and what the Commons had previously agreed, which was a civil recovery procedure scheme that did not carve out a very important exception.