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The Earl of Kinnoull: Perhaps I may ask the noble Earl to clarify Amendment No. 91. By removing Schedule 1, he removes "building owner". In Amendment No. 91 he substitutes "an occupier of land". That seems strange. The noble Earl may wish to write to me on the point because it may be complicated to explain.

Under Schedule 1 the building owner has to make good or compensate for any damage that he may occasion to the property of an adjoining occupier. That is not mentioned in the new amendment. I wonder why.

The Earl of Lytton: As regards building owners, the matter comes under the general definition with which I shall deal when I reach Amendment No. 96. I apologise, I missed the noble Earl's second point.

The Earl of Kinnoull: Under Schedule 1 there is a reference to a building owner having to make good or compensate the adjoining owner. It is not mentioned in Amendment No. 89.

The Earl of Lytton: There is a general provision in the Bill for dealing with compensation to adjoining owners. It might take me a little time now to find and explain the nitty-gritty, so perhaps I may write to the noble Earl after this stage, with his agreement, and set it out for him. That would probably be more accurate than searching through my papers now. If the noble Earl will accept my assurance that there is adequate provision for compensation in the Bill, I commend the amendment.

Lord Lucas: Officials in my department have liaised closely with officials in the Home Office and the Lord Chancellor's Department concerning the amendments. Given the anxiety expressed in Parliament about the burdens imposed on the criminal justice system by the creation of new criminal offences, the Government agree that it would not be appropriate to exact criminal sanctions where damages can be recovered through the

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civil courts. We therefore welcome the amendments, which confirm that and also reduce the level of fines to reflect the severity of the offence.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 14, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 15 [Service]:

The Earl of Lytton moved Amendment No. 90:


Leave out Clause 15 and insert the following new Clause--

Service of notices etc

(".--(1) A notice or other document required or authorised to be served under this Act may be served on a person--
(a) by delivering it to him in person;
(b) by sending it by post to him at his usual or last-known residence or place of business in the United Kingdom; or
(c) in the case of a body corporate, by delivering it to the secretary or clerk of the body corporate at its registered or principal office or sending it by post to the secretary or clerk of that body corporate at that office.
(2) In the case of a notice or other document required or authorised to be served under this Act on a person as owner of premises, it may alternatively be served by--
(a) addressing it "the owner" of the premises (naming them), and
(b) delivering it to a person on the premises or, if no person to whom it can be delivered is found there, fixing it to a conspicuous part of the premises.").

The noble Earl said: This is a general revision of the wording relating to the service of notice. It brings the 1930s legislation into line with modern drafting. I have already spoken to the amendment in connection with Amendment No. 3. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16 [Offences and fines]:

The Earl of Lytton moved Amendment No. 91:


Leave out Clause 16 and insert the following new Clause--

Offences

("(1) If--
(a) an occupier of land or premises refuses to permit a person to do anything which he is entitled to do with regard to the land or premises under section 8(1) or (5); and
(b) the occupier knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the person is so entitled,
the occupier is guilty of an offence.
(2) If--
(a) a person hinders or obstructs a person in attempting to do anything which he is entitled to do with regard to land or premises under section 8(1) or (5); and
(b) the first-mentioned person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person is so entitled,
the first-mentioned person is guilty of an offence.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of an amount not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.").

The noble Earl said: I have already spoken to this amendment with Amendment No. 89. Under Amendment No. 91, compensation can now be requested instead of making good. I do not know whether this goes some way towards answering the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull. I beg to move.

22 May 1996 : Column 949

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

The Earl of Lytton moved Amendment No. 92:


After Clause 16, insert the following new clause--

Recovery of sums

("Any sum payable in pursuance of this Act (otherwise than by way of fine) shall be recoverable summarily as a civil debt.").

The noble Earl said: I dealt with this new clause with Amendment No. 89. It provides as much protection as modern legislation can afford to adjoining owners for the recovery of sums that become due under the Bill. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 17 [Exemptions]:

The Earl of Lytton moved Amendment No. 93:


Leave out Clause 17 and insert the following new Clause--

Exception in case of Temples etc

(".--(1) This Act shall not apply to land which is situated in inner London and in which there is an interest belonging to--
(a) the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple,
(b) the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple,
(c) the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, or
(d) the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn.
(2) The reference in subsection (1) to inner London is to Greater London other than the outer London boroughs.").

The noble Earl said: In moving Amendment No. 93, I wish also to speak to Amendment No. 94. The two amendments are grouped together because they both deal with exemptions and make significant alterations to the Bill. However, they are consistent with the original intention as regards the exemptions to the Inns of Court, the Temples and the Crown. Discussions have been held with representatives of Her Majesty, the Duchy of Cornwall, government departments and the Inns of Court.

The effect of Amendment No. 93 is to preserve existing exemptions in respect of the Inns and Temples properties which are located in inner London where they already have exemption under the London building Acts but without adding any new exemptions in respect of land outside the inner London area.

Subsection (2) of the new clause is new and arises out of the reference to "inner London", for which I understand there is no statutory definition, despite the long history of the London building Acts. The provisions relate to Greater London less the outer London boroughs in order to deal with the residue of inner London.

Amendment No. 94 exempts land occupied by Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales in a personal capacity. Operational land and buildings not so occupied--for example, government buildings or premises occupied for administrative purposes of the Crown--will, however, be caught by the provisions of the Bill. The old wording of the Bill is also sub-divided for greater clarity.

22 May 1996 : Column 950

At Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, raised a query about this matter. I hope that this clarification of the exemptions will answer the concerns that he expressed. I beg to move.

The Earl of Kinnoull: I warmly congratulate the noble Earl on his powers of persuasion in getting the Inns of Court outside London, government buildings in particular and Crown land included in the net. I am quite sure that were the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, present he, too, would be delighted.

9.15 p.m.

Lord Lucas: We are content that the first amendment seeks to preserve the existing exemptions afforded in inner London to the Inns of Court and Temples by the London building Acts.

With regard to Crown exemption, the general rule of constitutional law is that an Act of Parliament does not bind the Crown unless and to the extent specified in the Act.

The Government's policy is to ensure that government departments and other public offices are not given Crown exemption where that is not thought necessary. Accordingly, I welcome the second amendment in that it achieves that objective while not binding the Crown in a private capacity or by virtue of its interests in the Royal duchies.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: I had intended to wait until Amendment No. 94 had been moved before saying what I know the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, would expect. He asked me to say in his absence how grateful he is that the points he made were taken on board. I have been referred to more than once in a sedentary position; I just thought I would rise to say those words so that the Committee can see that I am an upstanding chap!


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