Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 - Motion for an humble Address

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:48 pm on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of The Bishop of Rochester The Bishop of Rochester Bishop 1:48 pm, 23rd September 2020

My Lords, it is always good to follow the noble Lord, Lord Best, with his knowledge of this area. I am aware of the importance of this matter for both landlord and tenants. I am grateful for many of the measures that have been in place hitherto and many of the protections and mitigations which will continue under these rules. However, to pick up a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Best, I am concerned about those who may now find themselves in significant arrears, not least because of the pandemic. I think we will find there are many more in this situation than there were some months ago. This will disproportionately affect those from the most vulnerable groups in our midst, including migrants and those with mental health conditions.

A few months ago, the Everyone In initiative was in very many ways an astounding success and something of which the Government and others can, rightly, be proud. I would not want to see that being reversed by the effects of what is now being proposed, whether intended or not. My anxiety is that, just as infection rates may be rising, so evictions could reverse the good work that was done by putting people back on the streets. I will listen carefully to the debate. I hope for reassurance from the Minister but I have an inclination to vote for the regret Motion to give judges greater discretion in this matter.