HC Deb 30 October 2002 vol 391 cc943-4

Lords amendment: No. 143, in page 151, line 28, after "Investment" insert "in".

Miss Melanie Johnson

I beg to move That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

with this we may discuss Lords amendments Nos. 144 to 147.

Miss Johnson

The amendments all relate to part 8 of the Bill. Amendment No. 144 is intended to meet the concerns expressed by the Joint Committee on Human Rights about the provisions in clause 213 concerning applications for interim enforcement orders. The Committee's 21st report stated that it would be beneficial for the Bill to draw attention to the need for the courts to take account of the whole picture, rather than simply accepting the facts presented by the applicant. When an application for an interim enforcement order is made without notice being given to the person named in the application, the whole picture is necessarily limited to the evidence put before the court by the applicant. It is our view that, on an application without notice, the applicant will be obliged to put before the court all material facts, and that the court will consider them in deciding whether to make an interim enforcement order. The Committee agrees that that is likely to be the case, but for clarity amendment No. 144 includes that obligation in the Bill. The amendment—which applies to all applications for interim injunctions, and not simply to those made without notice—corresponds to a similar provision in practice direction 25, in England and Wales, on interim injunctions.

Mr. Djanogly

Would not the rights in the amendments exist in any event? If so, can the Minister justify the need for the amendments?

Miss Johnson

I had hoped that I was doing that. The Joint Committee has agreed that the presentation of the material facts before the court is important and that is likely to be the case whatever it says in the Bill. The Joint Committee was concerned about the expression of that in the Bill, in terms of the responsibility for human rights. We have taken that guidance and expertise into consideration when tabling Lords amendment No. 144 which makes that explicit.

Mr. Hoban

I appreciate the reasons that the Minister has given for tabling the amendment, and we all agree with them. However, would the provisions increase the time it takes to obtain interim enforcement orders? What impact would it have on the process?

Miss Johnson

It is a matter of making the obligations clear and not of altering the time scale. If anything, the process would be speeded up, not hindered.

Lords amendments Nos. 145 and 146 were made in response to an amendment tabled in the Lords Committee which the Government agreed to consider. When clause 224(5) left this House, it read: If the OFT is preparing advice or information". The amendment recognised that those words were inconsistent, given that the section in fact requires the OFT to produce such advice and information.

Lords amendment No. 147 is a technical amendment to clause 227, which concerns the supply of goods and services. The definition of the arrangements for supply when the Bill left this House mirrored that currently in section 138(3) of the Fair Trading Act 1973. That section refers to "documents" and "correspondence", which do not take account of today's world of internet transactions and other forms of electronic communications and commerce. Lords amendment No. 147 updates those provisions to include arrangements made by electronic means. Lords amendment No. 143 makes a minor drafting change in the title of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 144 to 147 agreed to.

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