Domestic abuse protection orders otherwise than on application

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 10th June 2020.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 2:30 pm, 10th June 2020

I will say a couple of things. First, I completely agree with the hon. Lady’s observation that the powers are very stark but very welcome. It is important to note why they are in place. It is not uncommon that cases cannot necessarily be proven to the criminal standard: beyond reasonable doubt. The tribunal has to be satisfied that it is sure; however, there can be serious lingering concerns that, were it to apply a test of the balance of probabilities, it would have no difficulty in finding that the abuse had taken place.

It is to cater for those circumstances that the courts can now impose really quite robust measures to ensure the protection of complainants and the rehabilitation of perpetrators. They are important powers, and benches and courts will want to exercise them wisely. Inevitably, they apply to individuals who have not been convicted of any offence. The courts will therefore need to tread carefully to ensure that justice is done, but they have shown themselves well able to do that for many centuries.