Clause 11 - Proposed civil partnership to be publicised

Civil Partnership Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 21st October 2004.

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Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry 4:45 pm, 21st October 2004

I beg to move amendment No. 22, in

clause 11, page 6, line 3, at end insert—

'( ) by any registration authority in whose area the proposed civil partner of the person giving the notice has resided during the period of 7 days preceding the giving of that notice,'.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 196, in

clause 11, page 6, line 8, after 'name', insert 'and address'.

No. 197, in

clause 11, page 6, line 9, after 'name', insert 'and address'.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry

Clause 11 sets out which registration authorities must publicise relevant information of proposed civil partnerships during the waiting period. The Registrar General must also publicise that information. The waiting period is defined in clause 12 as a period of 15 days, beginning on the day after a notice of proposed civil partnership is recorded. However, that period may be shortened on application to the Registrar General, in accordance with clause 13. Under the standard procedure, it would be usual for both proposed civil partners to give notice of their intention to form a civil partnership. Those notices have to be publicised by the bodies listed in clause 11.

Government amendment No. 22 makes an addition to the list in clause 11. It requires any registration authority in whose area the proposed civil partner of a person giving notice has resided for the seven days before notice was given to publicise the relevant information. The amendment will ensure that relevant information is publicised in the area or areas where each notice is given, in the areas where each proposed civil partner resided prior to giving notice and in the area where the proposed civil partners intend to form their civil partnership. I hope that hon. Members will support it.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I should like to speak briefly to amendments Nos. 196 and 197, which would insert requirements that the address of the person giving notice and the proposed civil partner should be published. What possible reason could there be for not requiring the publication of the address, particularly if, as we now know from the decision on clause 9, civil partners may be registering long distances away from where they actually reside?

I note that, under clause 14, an objector to a proposed civil partnership must give his or her address; why should not the applicant for civil partnership have to do so, too?

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

Very briefly, I believe that this is another part of the approach that the hon. Member for Christchurch takes of making things practically and psychologically more difficult for those wishing to enter into civil partnerships. It takes no account of the problems that printing a local address may cause two gay people who are forming a civil partnership and to whom threats have been made. There are some dangers to safety, and the hon.

Gentleman, with his characteristic indifference, decides not to take account of them and to force addresses to be published, so that people may be subject to attack. That happens in some places.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Surely the same applies to objectors to civil partnership. They may be under attack, too.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

I presume that that may be the case, but the evidence of homophobic violence and attacks is far more prevalent than evidence of violence against those who, even currently, object to people getting married. I hope that the Committee will oppose the amendments because of the threat that they pose to the safety of some people who may wish to enter into civil partnership.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry

In response to an earlier point made by the hon. Member for Christchurch, I think that I made it clear, not least in light of the Government amendment that was made, that relevant information will be publicised in the area or areas where notice is given, in the areas where each proposed civil partner resided prior to giving notice, and in the area where the proposed civil partners intend to form their civil partnership.

The hon. Gentleman wants it to be possible for the addresses of proposed civil partners to be publicised. On the point of objectors, although it is right that someone who wants to object has to give their address, it is not the case that that address will be publicised. The issue is about whether the addresses should be made public. Although it is right that details of proposed civil partnership registration should be made public so that objections can be raised where a legal impediment is known to exist, publishing details of individuals' addresses is unnecessary. As was pointed out, there is a balance to be struck between the privacy of the individuals concerned and the need for openness where a formal change of legal status is involved. I think that we have achieved that. Incidentally, if the proposals for the reform of marriage that I previously outlined went forward, the situation would be equivalent to that which applies to those wanting to enter into a civil marriage.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

It being two minutes to Five o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Sessional Order D [6 November 2003] and the Order of the Committee [19 October], as amended this day, to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.

Clauses 12, 13 and 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Amendment proposed: No. 23, in clause 15, page 7, line 7, leave out subsection (2) and insert—

'(2) Regulations may make provision as to the contents of a civil partnership schedule.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 15, as amended, and clauses 16 to 20 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed: No. 24, in clause 21, page 10, line 39, at end insert

'and, where the standard procedure is used in the first and second cases, is the period of 3 months beginning with that day'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

For the convenience of the Officers of the House, I shall advise the Committee that the Doors will remain locked until the end of the process.

Motion made, and Question put, that clause 21, as amended, and clauses 22 to 25 stand part of the Bill.

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed: No. 25, in clause 26, page 12, line 18, leave out from 'General,' to end of line 20 and insert—

'( ) Regulations may (subject to subsection (4)) make provision as to the contents of a licence under this section.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 26, as amended, and clauses 27 to 34 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed: No. 161, in clause 35, page 16, line 3, leave out 'registration services provided' and insert

'services provided in connection with civil partnerships'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 35, as amended, stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 162, in clause 36, page 16, line 20, at end insert—

'( ) for the issue by registration authorities or the Registrar General of certified copies of entries in the register and for such copies to be received in evidence.'.

No. 5, in clause 36, page 16, line 21, leave out paragraph (f).

No. 163, in clause 36, page 16, line 25, leave out subsection (4).

No. 164, in clause 36, page 16, line 33, leave out 'subsection (4)' and insert

'section (Power to assimilate provisions relating to civil registration in England and Wales)'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 36, as amended, stand part of the Bill and that schedules 2 and 3 be the Second and Third schedules to the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

On a point of order, Mr. Gale. Given that we are taking consecutive Divisions, would it not be reasonable to see whether there are legitimate members of the Committee who have been trying to return to the Room, who might not have been able to do so? I have not known such proceedings before and I seek your guidance whether such action would be proper.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

I think that the hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. Unlock. [Laughter.] At a time like this, a little levity is no bad thing. I hope that the hon. Member for South Ribble (Mr. Borrow), who has just come into the Room, appreciates that he owes his vote to the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton.

I should explain to members of the Committee, especially those who do not understand the slightly arcane process that we are going through, that we are dealing formally with a significant number of Government amendments, each and every one of which has to be voted on individually—at least, the opportunity must be created for each amendment to be voted on individually—so it is not possible to expedite such proceedings as rapidly as I might otherwise have done.

Amendments proposed: No. 34, in schedule 4, page 136, line 24, leave out from first 'apply' to end of line 25 and insert

'(in place of section 21) in the following three cases'.

No. 35, in schedule 4, page 137, line 9, leave out from 'is' to end of line 10 and insert

'the period of one month beginning with the day on which B's notice is given;

( ) section 32 applies as if in subsections (1)(a) and (2)(c) for ''each notice'' there were substituted ''B's notice''.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That schedule 4, as amended, be the fourth schedule to the Bill and that clauses 37 to 53 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 26, in clause 54, page 26, line 8, leave out

'by virtue of provision made under section 149,'

and insert 'under section 169,'.

No. 27, in clause 54, page 26, line 10, leave out from 'if' to end and insert

'the circumstances fall within any paragraph of section 50(1)'.

No. 28, in clause 54, page 26, line 18, leave out sub-paragraph (i).

No. 29, in clause 54, page 26, line 21, after '(2)(a)' insert 'or (b)'.

No. 30, in clause 54, page 26, line 26, leave out from first 'voidable' to end of line 31 and insert 'if—

(i) the appropriate part of the United Kingdom is England and Wales or Northern Ireland and the circumstances fall within any paragraph of section 50(1), or

(ii) the appropriate part of the United Kingdom is Scotland and the circumstances fall within section 50(1)(d).

(5) The appropriate part of the United Kingdom is the part by reference to which the condition in subsection (2)(b) of the relevant section is met.'.

No. 31, in clause 54, page 26, line 42, after 'Wales' insert 'or Northern Ireland'.

No. 32, in clause 54, page 26, line 45, leave out subsections (9) and (10) and insert—

'(8A) Section 51 applies for the purposes of—

(a) subsections (1)(b), (2)(b) and (4)(b),

(b) subsection (8)(a), in so far as applicable in accordance with the relevant law, and

(c) subsection (8)(b) and (c).

(8B) In subsections (8)(a) and (8A)(b) ''the relevant law'' means the law of the country or territory where the overseas relationship was registered (including its rules of private international law).

(8C) For the purposes of subsections (8) and (8A)(b) and (c), references in sections 50 and 51 to the formation of the civil partnership are to be read as references to the registration of the overseas relationship.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 54, as amended, stand part of the Bill and clauses 55 to 70 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 170, in schedule 5, page 140, line 6, at end insert—

'( ) In subsection (1)(ba) (application may be made by person living as husband or wife of the deceased), after ''subsection (1A)'' insert ''or (1B)''.'.

No. 171, in schedule 5, page 140, line 8, at end insert—

'( ) After subsection (1A) insert—

''(1B) This subsection applies to a person if for the whole of the period of two years ending immediately before the date when the deceased died the person was living—

(a) in the same household as the deceased, and

(b) as the civil partner of the deceased.'''.

No. 172, in schedule 5, page 141, line 4, at end insert—

'In section 3(2A) (application by person living as husband or wife of deceased: matters to which court is to have regard), in paragraph (a), after ''wife'' insert ''or civil partner''.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made

:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That schedule 5, as amended, be the fifth schedule to the Bill and clause 71 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 36, in schedule 6, page 156, line 6, leave out sub-paragraph (3).

No. 37, in schedule 6, page 156, line 8, after 'under' insert 'paragraph 27 or'.

No. 38, in schedule 6, page 156, line 18, at end insert—

Pension protection fund compensation etc.

PPF compensation to be included in matters to which court is to have regard

29A (1) The matters to which a court is to have regard under paragraph 21(2)(a) include any PPF compensation to which a civil partner is or is likely to be entitled; and, accordingly, in relation to any PPF compensation paragraph 21(2)(a)(ii) has effect as if ''in the foreseeable future'' were omitted.

(2) The matters to which a court is to have regard under paragraph 21(2)(h) include any PPF compensation which, because of the making of a dissolution or nullity order, a civil partner will lose the chance of acquiring entitlement to.

(3) In this Part ''PPF compensation'' means compensation payable under—

(a) Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Pensions Act 2004 (pension protection), or

(b) corresponding Northern Ireland legislation.

Assumption of responsibility by PPF Board in paragraph 25(2) cases

29B (1) This paragraph applies to an order under Part 1 so far as it includes provision made by virtue of paragraph 25(2) which—

(a) imposed requirements on the trustees or managers of an occupational pension scheme for which the Board has assumed responsibility, and

(b) was made before the trustees or managers received the transfer notice.

(2) From the time the trustees or managers of the scheme receive the transfer notice, the order has effect—

(a) except in descriptions of case prescribed by regulations, with the modifications set out in sub-paragraph (3), and

(b) with such other modifications as may be prescribed by regulations.

(3) The modifications are that—

(a) references in the order to the trustees or managers of the scheme have effect as references to the Board, and

(b) references in the order to any pension or lump sum to which the civil partner with pension rights is or may become entitled under the scheme have effect as references to any PPF compensation to which that person is or may become entitled in respect of the pension or lump sum.

Assumption of responsibility by PPF Board in paragraph 25(5) cases

29C (1) This paragraph applies to an order under Part 1 if—

(a) it includes provision made by virtue of paragraph 25(5) which requires the civil partner with pension rights to exercise his right of commutation under an occupational pension scheme to any extent, and

(b) before the requirement is complied with the Board has assumed responsibility for the scheme.

(2) From the time the trustees or managers of the scheme receive the transfer notice, the order has effect with such modifications as may be prescribed by regulations.

Lump sums: power to modify paragraph 26 in respect of assessment period

29D Regulations may modify paragraph 26 in its application to an occupational pension scheme during an assessment period in relation to the scheme.

Assumption of responsibility by the Board not to affect power of court to vary order etc.

29E (1) This paragraph applies where the court makes, in relation to an occupational pension scheme—

(a) a pension sharing order, or

(b) an order including provision made by virtue of paragraph 25(2) or(5).

(2) If the Board subsequently assumes responsibility for the scheme, that does not affect—

(a) the powers of the court under paragraph 43 to vary or discharge the order or to suspend or revive any provision of it;

(b) on an appeal, the powers of the appeal court to affirm, reinstate, set aside or vary the order.

Regulations

29F Regulations may make such consequential modifications of any provision of, or made by virtue of, this Schedule as appear to the Lord Chancellor necessary or expedient to give effect to the provisions of this Part.

29G (1) In this Part ''regulations'' means regulations made by the Lord Chancellor.

(2) A power to make regulations under this Part is exercisable by statutory instrument which is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

Interpretation

29H (1) In this Part—

''assessment period'' means—

(a) an assessment period within the meaning of Part 2 of the Pensions Act 2004 (pension protection), or

(b) an equivalent period under corresponding Northern Ireland legislation;

''the Board'' means the Board of the Pension Protection Fund;

''the civil partner with pension rights'' has the meaning given by paragraph 29(1);

''occupational pension scheme'' has the same meaning as in the Pension Schemes Act 1993 (c.48);

''transfer notice'' has the same meaning as in—

(a) Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the 2004 Act, or

(b) corresponding Northern Ireland legislation.

(2) References in this Part to the Board assuming responsibility for a scheme are to the Board assuming responsibility for the scheme in accordance with—

(a) Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the 2004 Act (pension protection), or

(b) corresponding Northern Ireland legislation.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That schedule 6, as amended, be the Sixth schedule to the Bill and schedule 7 be the Seventh schedule to the Bill.

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 39, in schedule 8, page 199, line 10, leave out sub-paragraph (4) and insert—

'(4) The matters to which the court is to have regard under sub-paragraph (3)(a), so far as relating to paragraph 21(2)(a) of Schedule 6 (regard to be had to financial resources), include—

(a) any benefits under a pension arrangement which either of the civil partners has or is likely to have, and

(b) any PPF compensation to which a civil partner is or is likely to be entitled,

(whether or not in the foreseeable future).

(4A) The matters to which the court is to have regard under sub-paragraph (3)(a), so far as relating to paragraph 21(2)(h) of Schedule 6 (regard to be had to benefits that cease to be acquirable), include—

(a) any benefits under a pension arrangement which, because of the dissolution or annulment of the civil partnership, one of the civil partners will lose the chance of acquiring, and

(b) any PPF compensation which, because of the making of the dissolution or nullity order, a civil partner will lose the chance of acquiring entitlement to.'.

No. 40, in schedule 8, page 199, line 34, leave out 'section' and insert 'paragraph'.

No. 41, in schedule 8, page 199, line 36, leave out 'and'.

No. 42, in schedule 8, page 199, line 39, at end insert

', and

(c) ''PPF compensation'' has the same meaning as in Part 6A of Schedule 6.'

No. 43, in schedule 8, page 201, line 44, at end insert—

'( ) paragraphs 29B to 29H (orders under Part 1 relating to pensions where Board has assumed responsibility for scheme);'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That schedule 8, as amended, be the eighth schedule to the Bill and clauses 72 to 77 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed: No. 33, in clause 78, page 35, line 39, at end insert—

'( ) In section 21 (placement orders), in subsection (4)(c), after ''child marries'' insert '', forms a civil partnership''.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That clause 78, as amended, and clauses 79 and 80 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment proposed: No. 173, in schedule 9, page 217, line 18, at end insert—

'( ) In subsection (3), for the definition of ''cohabitants'' substitute—

'' ''cohabitants'' means—

(a) a man and a woman who, although not married to each other, are living together as husband and wife, or

(b) two people of the same sex who, although not civil partners of each other, are living together as if they were civil partners;

and ''former cohabitants'' shall be construed accordingly,''.'.

—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That schedule 9, as amended, be the Ninth schedule to the Bill, that clause 81 stand part of the Bill and that schedule 10 be the Tenth schedule to the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments proposed: No. 166, in clause 82, page 37, line 37, at end insert—

'( ) In paragraph (b)(iii) of section 1(3), after ''wife'' insert ''or civil partner''.'.

No. 167, in clause 82, page 38, line 10, at end insert—

'( ) In section 3 (assessment of damages), in subsection (4), after ''wife'' insert ''or civil partner''.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Motion made and Question put, that clause 82, as amended, stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 1.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Watson.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-five minutes past Five o'clock till Tuesday 26 October at ten minutes past Nine o'clock.