§ The Solicitor-General
I beg to move amendment No. 23, in page 32, line 5, leave out subsection (3) and insert—'(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (1) and (2), the power to make rules of court for magistrates' courts, and in Northern Ireland the power to make Judgment Enforcement Rules, shall include power to make such provision as the rule-making authority considers necessary or expedient for the purposes of the provisions of the Conventions and this Act relating to maintenance proceedings and the recognition and enforcement of maintenance orders and shall in particular include 601 power to make provision as to any of the following matters—It is perhaps as well if I say something about the amendment, as it affects maintenance proceedings which are of great importance to many people.
- (a) authorising the service in another Contracting State of process issued by or for the purposes of a magistrates' court and the service and execution in England and Wales or Northern Ireland of process issued in another Contracting State;
- (b) requesting courts in other parts of the United Kingdom or in other Contracting States to take evidence there for the purposes of proceedings in England and Wales or Northern Ireland;
- (c) the taking of evidence in England and Wales or Northern Ireland in response to similar requests received from such courts;
- (d) the circumstances in which and the conditions subject to which any powers conferred under paragraphs (a) to (c) are to be exercised;
- (e) the admission in evidence, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in the rules, of statements contained in documents purporting to be made or authenticated by a court in another part of the United Kingdom or in another Contracting State, or by a judge or official of such a court, which purport—
- (i) to set out or summarise evidence given in proceedings in that court or to be documents received in evidence in such proceedings or copies of such documents; or
- (ii) to set out or summarise evidence taken for the purposes of proceedings in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, whether or not in response to any such request as is mentioned in paragraph (b); or
- (iii) to record information relating to the payments made under an order of that court;
- (f) the circumstances and manner in which a magistrates' court may or must vary or revoke a maintenance order registered in that court, cancel the registration of, or refrain from enforcing, such an order or transmit such as an order for enforcement in another part of the United Kingdom;
- (g) the cases and manner in which courts in other parts of the United Kingdom or in other Contracting States are to be informed of orders made, or other things done, by or for the purpose of the magistrates' court;
- (h) the circumstances and manner in which a magistrates' court may communicate for other purposes with such courts;
- (i) the giving of notice of such matters as may be prescribed in the rules to such persons as may be so prescribed and the manner in which such notice is to be given.'.
The amendment extends the power to make rules of court for the purposes of the maintenance provisions of the Bill. As it stands, clause 48(3) refers only to the making of rules in relation to the recognition and enforcement of maintenance orders. It does not cover the rules which may be needed in relation to maintenance proceedings which may be taken in a magistrates' court against a defendant domiciled in another contracting State, by virtue of article 5(2) of the convention.
Clause 48(3) is therefore reworded to provide for the making of rules in both sets of circumstances, that is, in relation to maintenance proceedings under the convention and to the recognition and enforcement of maintenance orders. At the same time, we have taken the opportunity to indicate the kinds of rules which may conceivably be needed to ensure that we fulfil our obligations.
The amendment refers only to England and Wales and Northern Ireland because it is considered that adequate powers to make rules for the sheriff court already exist in the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971.
§ Amendment agreed to