HC Deb 30 June 1981 vol 7 cc785-6
Mr. Rifkind

I beg to move amendment No. 12, in page 10, line 37, leave out 'unless proved otherwise, be deemed to'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 13.

Mr. Rifkind

These amendments take account of the reservations about clause 7(2) expressed by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) in Committee. The new paragraph allows a non-entitled spouse to change her mind if there has been a significant change in circumstance such that it would have been unlikely that any indication of willingness of consent would have been given had the latest set of circumstances been known at the time.

This is clearly very different from the circumstances that we discussed earlier, because here there has been no sworn renunciation before a notary public. We are here dealing merely with a situation in which the spouse may have given an informal indication that she would give her consent to the disposal of the property. That is a totally different circumstance, as I know that the hon. Gentleman, being a fair man, will be entirely willing to accept.

In those circumstances, and as this was a matter raised by the hon. Gentleman himself in Committee, I have no doubt that with his customary graciousness he will be willing to accept the amendment.

Mr. Dewar

The Minister is being a shade too gracious for my peace of mind. He is scrambling to distinguish this amendment from his somewhat peremptory treatment of my earlier efforts to improve the Bill. I think that it is sufficient, however, particularly with other business pressing, to say that I regard these Government amendments—based as they are on suggestions Front the Opposition in Committee—as a considerable improvement of the Bill in a delicate area. It was far too weak in relation to the circumstances in which the courts could waive the consent of a spouse. I am glad that the position has been improved by the Minister's efforts on this occasion at least.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 13, in page 10, line 39, leave out from 'where' to end of line 5 on page 11 and insert 'it appears to the court—

  1. (a) that the non-entitled spouse has led the entitled spouse to believe that he or she would consent to the dealing and that the non-entitled spouse would not be prejudiced by any change in the circumstance of the case since such apparent consent was given: or
  2. (b) that the entitled spouse has, having taken all reasonable steps to do so, been unable to obtain an answer to a request for consent.'.
No. 14, in page 11, line 9, leave out '(d)' and insert '(e)'.—[Mr. Rifkind.]

Back to
Forward to