Section 10 — Attachment

Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:15 pm on 13th November 2002.

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Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative 4:15 pm, 13th November 2002

Amendment 46 is grouped with amendment 47 and both are in Linda Fabiani's name. I invite Linda Fabiani to speak to the amendments and to move amendment 46.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

Ms Fabiani is off sick today, I suddenly recall. We have to settle for Kenneth Gibson instead.

Members:

Shame!

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

Well, I do have my admirers in some quarters. I will be moving all the amendments in Linda Fabiani's name today, because, as you say, Presiding Officer, my colleague is unwell.

Summary warrants do not allow the party being pursued to be heard in court. Whatever the circumstances of the case, natural justice demands that both parties to an action should have the right to be heard. The right to a fair hearing should not be circumscribed, and it is to Scotland's shame that we have allowed the situation to persist for so long. In the interests of justice and fairness and of maintaining the dignity of our legal system, we should ensure that courts adjudicate only after hearing all the evidence, rather than half the evidence.

There are further significant reasons why we should ensure that both sides to an action have a right to be heard. The European convention on human rights enshrines the right to a fair hearing in legal proceedings. Internationally, the expectation is that fair hearings be granted to all those who are involved in legal proceedings. For the sake of justice, and for Scotland's standing in international comparisons, we must endure that a day in court is available to the defendants of an action.

I urge acceptance of amendments 46 and 47, and I move amendment 46.

Photo of Richard Simpson Richard Simpson Labour

Amendments 46 and 47 seek to ensure that attachment cannot be used to enforce a summary warrant. We debated this matter at stage 2. It is important to remember that the domestic debtor already enjoys exactly the same protections under the new procedure, regardless of the type of decree that is being enforced and of the type of creditor. I do not think that that has been fully appreciated.

Amendments 46 would also require that, for an attachment to be competent, the creditor and debtor have the right to a hearing. Under the bill, both parties will already receive intimations to attend a hearing for an application for an exceptional attachment order. In the event that an order is granted—that is, only in those cases where the sheriff is persuaded that there are exceptional circumstances—the debtor has a subsequent right of appeal to the sheriff on a point of law.

The real impact of the two amendments would be seriously to undermine the collection of moneys due to central Government and local government, which are the only creditors who can use summary warrants. That would have a similar impact on all of us, as taxpayers. Amendments 46 and 47 should be rejected.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

I will press both the amendments. Natural justice should be overwhelming. In this case, I believe that the bill as currently drafted does not allow for that.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 46 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 12

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Marwick, Tricia, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Sheridan, Tommy, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Young, John

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 32, Against 81, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 46 disagreed to.

[Amendment 47 moved—[Mr Kenneth Gibson].]

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 47 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 13

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Sheridan, Tommy, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 30, Against 77, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 47 disagreed to.