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Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Ackner, L. [Teller.]
Addington, L.
Aldington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Beloff, L.
Bingham of Cornhill, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Brentford, V.
Brightman, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Calverley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle, E.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chichester, Bp.
Cuckney, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davidson, V.
Dholakia, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elton, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Flather, B.
Foley, L.
Geraint, L.
Gormanston, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Halsbury, E.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Hampton, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henderson of Brompton, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Holderness, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hutton, L.
Hylton, L. [Teller.]
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kitchener, E.
Knollys, V.
Lane, L.
Lawrence, L.
Leicester, Bp.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Long, V.
Longford, E.
Lowry, L.
Ludford, B.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mersey, V.
Meston, L.
Middleton, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Munster, E.
Nelson, E.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Nolan, L.
Ogmore, L.
Oliver of Aylmerton, L.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Rix, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Shannon, E.
Shaughnessy, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Slynn of Hadley, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tenby, V.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Wakefield, Bp.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wharton, B.
Wynford, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ailesbury, M.
Alport, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Berkeley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookes, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Diamond, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Elles, B.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glenamara, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. [Teller.]
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hardie, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Levy, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merrivale, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thurlow, L.
Tryon, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

31 Mar 1998 : Column 172

4.35 p.m.

Lord Henley moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 2, line 24, after ("years") insert ("or more than five years)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a third run round some fairly familiar territory that we examined both in Committee and on Report. In Committee I suggested that perhaps it might be best to leave these matters entirely to the discretion of the courts--that is, the antisocial behaviour orders--and that it should be a matter for the court to decide what the period should be, having no maximum or minimum.

Noble Lords on the Liberal Benches at that stage suggested merely having a maximum. We came back to the matter on Report, and I suggested having no minimum length but having a maximum. This is a third attempt to suggest, having accepted the Government's arguments that these are serious matters to be taken seriously, that it is right that there should be a minimum. However, I still have a number of concerns about the lack of a maximum.

I would have thought that a maximum of five years would provide the courts and the Government with a long enough period for all the circumstances that one might imagine. In fact I find it difficult to imagine the sort of occasion when the courts might wish to impose an antisocial behaviour order for longer than five years. I should be very grateful if the noble Lord, when he comes to respond, could say on what occasion the Government envisage that the courts might wish to impose these orders for a period greater than five years.

I would also suggest that five years is a very long period, as perhaps many of your Lordships would accept. If the mischief was continuing and it was felt necessary that the antisocial behaviour order should

31 Mar 1998 : Column 173

be for longer than five years, then five years would at least be an appropriate time to review the situation and to start the process again to consider whether it was necessary for the antisocial behaviour order to be continued or to make a new order. Therefore I feel that a limit of five years would be appropriate. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, as the noble Lord said, we have discussed this amendment, or similar ones, in Committee and on Report. We do not believe that the maximum ought to be limited. There is no such limitation on restraining orders in the Protection from Harassment Act of 1997.

The noble Lord asked what the basis of our approach was. It is that the court needs to be able to look at the full circumstances of a case and make its own judgment in the discrete circumstances of that case. It would, I imagine, wish to look at the whole of the circumstances, the nature of the person who was subject to the order, the nature of the complaints and perhaps even the nature of the complainants in the whole pattern.

I agree it might well be that a teenager would be suitably served by a two-year or a three-year order. It might well be six or seven for an older individual, particularly where antisocial behaviour has persisted over a number of years prior to the making of the order. There might be some circumstances where the court feels that no limit should be set. One has to bear in mind that this order is a prohibitory order and it requires that the person who is subject to it should do no more than have a decent regard for the susceptibilities and liberties of others. We are not able, therefore, having revisited this topic, to accept this amendment, and I would ask the noble Lord, on the basis of the further material I have given, to consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I shall in due course withdraw the amendment. It is not appropriate to subject the House at this stage to another Division. I am sorry that the noble Lord was not prepared to accept my arguments and that the Government still believe it right that there should be discretion at one end but not at the other for courts in making their decision. I believe that there will be relatively few occasions--and I think the noble Lord implied this in his answer--when the courts would want to exercise these powers for longer than five years. I hope it will be a very rare occurrence for these orders to be made for longer than five years. No doubt in due course the Home Office will offer guidance to magistrates' courts about how to make use of such orders. I hope it will consider offering guidance suggesting that an order for longer than five years will be made only in the most exceptional circumstances. Having noted what the noble Lord said in response to my amendment, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

31 Mar 1998 : Column 174


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