Clause 1

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office 5:30 pm, 16th January 2007

It may well be that in that kind of relationship the description “friend” would be adequate. What we are seeking to do in paragraph (c) is to extend what is covered by paragraphs (a) and (b). Paragraph (a) clarifies that spouses are covered, and the term spouse is defined in legislation. Paragraph (b) covers civil partners, which is also a term defined in legislation. There are other people, however, who live together in enduring family relationships and who are neither spouses nor civil partners. We simply wanted to extend the explanation of the provision’s intention by including an additional paragraph, which seeks to describe people who share a family relationship over a period of time who may not be spouses or civil partners but who may have an enduring family relationship. It could even be that they are friends and that they qualify in that way, but we do not want there to be the possibility of omitting them. It is important that such situations are brought to the attention of the DPP, which is why the provision has been included.

In looking for an explanation for paragraph (c), the hon. Gentleman needs to look at paragraphs (a) and (b), not paragraphs (d) and (e). We are seeking to fill a small gap in our explanations.