Making of orders without notice

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

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Clause 31 makes provisions for making an order without giving prior notice to the person who is alleged to have been abusive. These are standard provisions and consistent with existing protection orders. Before making an order, a court would normally inform the relevant person of the hearing taking place. However, as with existing orders, we recognise that in some cases an order may be urgently required. Clause 31 enables the court to make an order without notice in those cases where it is just and convenient to do so.

When deciding whether to make an order without notice, a court must first consider the risk to the victim if the order is not made immediately and the risk that the victim would be deterred from pursuing the application if the order were not made immediately. This measure also allows the court to take action in cases where it believes that the person alleged to have been abusive is aware of the proceedings but deliberately evading service, in order to ensure that the victim can still receive the protection that they need. In other words, it provides scope to the court, if it thinks that an individual is seeking to frustrate justice, simply to go ahead in the normal way and ensure that the protection is put in place.

If an order is made without notice, the court must schedule a return hearing as soon as is just and convenient, to allow the affected person to make representations about the order. That is in line with the usual procedures for current protective orders, and you may feel, Mr Bone, that it is in the interests of justice. If an order is made without notice, the individual who is subject to it should have the opportunity to make representations as soon as is just and convenient.

It is worth mentioning that subsection (2) of clause 34, which makes further provision about electronic monitoring requirements, provides that an electronic monitoring or tagging requirement may not be imposed on a person in their absence. I trust that the reason for that is obvious, but if anyone wants to ask me about it, they can.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 31 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.