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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:39 pm on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat 2:39 pm, 23rd September 2020

My Lords, I feel compelled to repeat one paragraph from my opening speech because it seems that it was not heard originally. I apologise if it lacked clarity. If we vote against this statutory instrument, will landlords still be able to take action regarding more serious eviction cases? Yes, because of the statutory instrument that was tabled in August, which is not the one the House is voting on today. I want to make sure that noble Lords are absolutely clear that egregious cases, domestic violence, long-term arrears, et cetera are included in the statutory instrument that was tabled in August.

It is therefore possible to vote to annul this instrument. It will not freeze or stop the egregious cases. If, as the Minister said, I am talking about so few cases—I do not agree with him; I think that the loophole is larger—then why not do it? What is the harm in ensuring that there is a longer notice period for people who were served notice between March and August? This is not for the egregious cases, just for the no-fault evictions under Section 21 with no explanation, because judges still have no discretion whatever.

I completely understand that it is difficult and messy to do this retrospectively. However, if this instrument falls, it would be up to the Government to come back. This House has done the job that the Commons failed to do: ask the Government to think again. This is about a very small but incredibly important factor; I believe that it is 55,000. The Minister has alternative figures, which I disputed in my opening speech.

Fourteen years ago, the Joint Commission on Conventions met. When summing up, the noble Lord, Lord Cunningham of Felling—Jack Cunningham—from the Labour Benches said:

“It is not incompatible with a revising Chamber to reject” a statutory instrument. I agree, and have thought long and hard about this since I put down this humble Address at the beginning of the summer. The Government tabled this statutory instrument with no 21-sitting-day period for it to be considered. That consideration did not happen. The Commons did not do its job, so it is up to this House to do the job for it. For that reason, the fatal Motion should go ahead. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 126, Noes 266.