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Clause 88

Part of Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats 10:15 am, 22nd March 2007

I, too, shall be brief. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central mischievously saidto me that I should thank the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk for so effectively deploying, sentence by sentence and word for word, the arguments put by our noble Friend Lord Thomas of Gresford in the other place. I will tell our noble Friend that the hon. Gentleman put the case well.

There was an interesting little debate in the other place on this issue on 14 December, but at the end of it no one, including those who participated, were entirely clear about the outcome. I have read it twice, and I think we are all trying to get a third stab at it.

I stand to be corrected, but as I understand it, if somebody is paying off by instalments an unsecured loan on a car, for example, the issue is whether it should be possible for the creditor to come back and say, “You have kept up your instalments and paid the money, but  I want more now. I want to secure the loan and have a charging order, and I will put a charge over your garden shed, garage or house.” Should it be possible for someone who has honoured their obligations and paid up—there is no question of their having defaulted—to be the subject of a stronger remedy?

The Consumers Association was concerned that that would tip the balance wrongly on the side of the creditor and against the debtor. We would argue that a good, paying debtor should not be subject to further impositions on their property if they have kept to the agreement that they entered into.