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Lord Dubs: My Lords, I fully understand the difficulty that the Minister has described. How we deal with young persons who behave in an anti-social and unlawful way is a very difficult problem which probably cannot be resolved at the end of a long day in relation to a particular provision in the Housing Bill. It is a much wider social problem than we can solve here and now, though we recognise that the manner in which young persons behave on council estates and elsewhere can be very upsetting to others. We must all struggle to find answers to these difficulties. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 186:


Before Clause 144, insert the following new clause--

Power to grant injunctions against anti-social behaviour

(".--(1) The High Court or a county court may, on an application by a local authority, grant an injunction prohibiting a person from--
(a) engaging in or threatening to engage in conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to a person residing in, visiting or otherwise engaging in a lawful activity in residential premises to which this section applies or in the locality of such premises,
(b) using or threatening to use residential premises to which this section applies for immoral or illegal purposes, or
(c) entering residential premises to which this section applies or being found in the locality of any such premises.
(2) This section applies to residential premises of the following descriptions--
(a) dwelling-houses held under secure or introductory tenancies from the local authority;
(b) accommodation provided by that authority under Part VII of this Act or Part III of the Housing Act 1985 (homelessness).
(3) The court shall not grant an injunction under this section unless it is of the opinion that--
(a) the respondent has used or threatened to use violence against any person of a description mentioned in subsection (1)(a), and
(b) there is a significant risk of harm to that person or a person of a similar description if the injunction is not granted.
(4) An injunction under this section may--
(a) in the case of an injunction under subsection (1)(a) or (b), relate to particular acts or to conduct, or types of conduct, in general or to both, and
(b) in the case of an injunction under subsection (1)(c), relate to particular premises or a particular locality;
and may be made for a specified period or until varied or discharged.
(5) An injunction under this section may be varied or discharged by the court on an application by--

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(a) the respondent, or
(b) the local authority which made the original application.
(6) The court may attach a power of arrest to one or more of the provisions of an injunction which it intends to grant under this section.
(7) The court may, in any case where it considers that it is just and convenient to do so, grant an injunction under this section, or vary such an injunction, even though the respondent has not been given such notice of the proceedings as would otherwise be required by rules of court.
If the court does so, it must afford the respondent an opportunity to make representations relating to the injunction or variation as soon as just and convenient at a hearing of which notice has been given to all the parties in accordance with rules of court.
(8) In this section "local authority" has the same meaning as in the Housing Act 1985.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 186 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 194 and 195. Amendment No. 186 introduces a new clause which provides local authorities with a specific power to obtain an injunction to restrain the anti-social behaviour of non-tenants on council estates. The existing Clause 145 enables a local authority to ask the courts to attach a power of arrest to an injunction obtained by the council to restrain a person whose anti-social behaviour affects its estates. It relies on a local authority using the general power under Section 222 of the Local Government Act 1972 to take legal action,


    "for the promotion or protection of the interest of the inhabitants of their area".

In Committee the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, tabled an amendment to clarify that councils were able to use Section 222 for the purposes of curbing anti-social behaviour. It transpired that some local authorities which used Section 222 had obtained legal advice that they would be unwise to rely on that power to restrain anti-social behaviour in premises owned by themselves on the basis that there might not be sufficient public interest to justify its use.

The Government believe that Section 222 is fully effective but we did promise to consider further any evidence to the contrary that was put to us. The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, kindly arranged for us to see briefing material. From consideration of that it is clear that this matter has not yet been fully tested in the courts. Until that happens, local authorities and their advisers are reluctant to use Section 222 to take action against troublemakers on their estates.

Clause 144, in the same way as Clause 145, allows social landlords to request the court to attach a power of arrest to injunctions taken out to stop tenants behaving anti-socially where violence or threats of violence are involved. It is essential that local authorities also have an effective way of dealing with those who are not tenants and cause trouble on estates. As it is now clear that there are doubts among local authorities that Section 222 enables them to do that, we are bringing forward these amendments which do so.

The new clause contains an express power to allow councils to obtain an injunction in either the High Court or the county court to restrain anyone from engaging in anti-social behaviour on council estates. This power is supplemented, like Clause 144, with a power for the

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local authority to request the court to attach a power of arrest. This will enable councils to take effective action. The amendments will be welcomed by local authorities in their battle against anti-social behaviour. We are most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, for having brought the matter to our attention. I beg to move.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, I thank the Minister for what he said. Perhaps I may raise two points. First, it is my understanding that Amendment No. 186 does not cover damage to property. Is there a point that I have missed in that or related amendments, or has that matter been deliberately omitted? The amendment certainly deals with conduct likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to persons and a variety of other types of behaviour. However, damage to property is also relevant and I wonder whether the Minister would care to comment on that.

Secondly, the phrase "or likely to cause" appears in subsection (1)(a). Perhaps, when the Minister writes to me in relation to the appearance of that phrase in an earlier amendment, he will consider the effect of it in this amendment. What will be the position if the court has to interpret that phrase given its relationship to professional witnesses? It is the same argument we had previously. Perhaps the Minister will be good enough to deal with the matter when he writes to me. In the meantime, I await his comment about damage to property.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, to allay the fears of the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, on both points, "causing a nuisance" must include damage to property, and damage to property is therefore covered under that heading. I shall certainly write to the noble Lord on the use of the phrase "likely to cause" in this amendment and also as related to previous parts of the Bill.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 145 [Power of arrest for breach of other local authority injunctions]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 187:


Leave out Clause 145.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have just spoken to Amendments Nos. 187 to 191. I beg to move Amendment No. 187.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 146 [Ex-parte applications for injunctions]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 188:


Page 94, line 22, leave out from ("its") to first ("to") in line 23 and insert ("power under section (Power to grant injunctions against anti-social behaviour)(6) or section 144 to attach a power of arrest").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 189:


Page 94, line 32, leave out (" 144(5)(a) or 145(3)(a)") and insert ("(Power to grant injunctions against anti-social behaviour)(1)(a) or section 144(5)(a)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Clause 147 [Arrest and remand]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No.190:


Page 94, line 41, leave out (" 144 or 145") and insert ("(Power to grant injunctions against anti-social behaviour)(6) or section 144").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 191:


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