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

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. Ultimately, he will understand why I say that a very proper distinction exists between the legislature, the Executive and the judiciary. The judiciary are proudly and profoundly independent, and they will take their course and impose the orders if they think that it is in in the interest of justice to do so. Of course, we must ensure that courts are properly aware of the powers available to them. I have no doubt that the president of the family division, and indeed the Lord Chief Justice in the criminal sphere, will use their good offices to ensure that that takes place.

On the point that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley made about whether we can look after the event to check that the powers are being used, first, there is, as she knows, the issue of the pilot. That provides a significant period to establish whether the orders are being taken up. Secondly, the Office for National Statistics has an annual publication of DA statistics that includes the different orders, so we will be able to get a sense of the extent to which they are being applied.

I hope that this will not sound overly fastidious, but one should not necessarily automatically read reluctance into a low level of use in one part of the country compared with others. It may be, because each case turns on the facts, that it was not appropriate in those circumstances. However, as a general observation, we will keep an eye on it, and there will be data on which the hon. Lady will no doubt robustly hold the Government to account. I beg to move.