Committee (and remaining stages)

Part of Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Lords at 1:58 am on 7th April 2010.

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Photo of Lord Selsdon Lord Selsdon Conservative 1:58 am, 7th April 2010

My Lords, this is a probing amendment asking once more for a definition. I am getting extremely concerned about the shortage of good words. The Liberal Democrats are for ever going on about non-doms. The Conservative Party goes on about non-doms. I should like to have a definition once and for all of the term "domicile". I declare an interest as a Scot. As a Scot with a lair, which is a grave, and a mausoleum, I am for ever and a day domiciled in Scotland. My family, however, have a habit of dying at sea. When you die at sea, there is a difficulty as to where you were domiciled at the time of your death.

I want to get the Government to describe the term "domicile". At birth in the United Kingdom in general you take the domicile of your father, which is called domicile of birth. At the age of 16, you may change that domicile to domicile of choice. However, if you change your domicile to domicile of choice, you must sever all relationships with your domicile of origin. This makes no problem at all for people who are born in the United Kingdom and take their father's domicile, but for those who may have foreign parents, domicile is an interesting and difficult situation.

The way the Government have worded this part of the Bill is not altogether clear. "Resident" and "ordinary resident" are extremely clear, but when you use the word "domicile" and talk about estate duty for part of the year, you have a considerable problem if you are looking at the application of death taxes or inheritance taxes in many countries around the world, particularly those which do not have a double taxation agreement. I should like the Minister to give an official definition of "domicile". I beg to move.