HL Deb 21 July 1977 vol 386 cc423-4

11 Clause 6, page 6, line 21, leave out subsection (3) and insert— (3) In any proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be a defence for the accused to prove—

  1. (a) that at the time of the alleged offence he or any other person on whose behalf he was acting was a displaced residential occupier of the premises in question; or
  2. (b) that part of the premises in question constitutes premises of which he or any other person on whose behalf he was acting was a displaced residential occupier and that the part of the premises to which he was seeking to secure entry constitutes an access of which he or, as the case may be, that other person is also a displaced residential occupier".


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11. This Amendment has been linked with Amendment No. 14. With the leave of the House, it may also be convenient for me to refer to Amendments Nos. 15, 19, 20 and 29 to 35 which can then be dealt with formally later. These Amendments are essentially all concerned with the definition of "premises". When the Bill was before this House previously, the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, asked during the Committee stage whether the Government thought it satisfactory for the Bill not to include a comprehensive definition of "premises". I undertook to look at the point. There was a Government Amendment at Report stage to make it clear that in Clauses 6 and 8 "premises" meant a building and the adjacent land used in connection with the building. I argued that there were some dangers in going further by attempting an exhaustive definition of "premises", and that it might be better to leave it to the courts to reach a sensible interpretation in the light of the facts of each particular case. I do not think that the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, was persuaded by that argument and he pressed the case for a full definition.

Subsequently, the Government reexamined the matter and concluded, as the noble Earl hoped we would, that it is unsatisfactory for Parliament not to define "premises", particularly in view of the question whether "premises" should or should not include the access to those premises. The Amendments cover that point and, indeed, a number of others. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House cloth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)


My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships for more than a second or two, but will merely say that I am grateful to the Government and, in particular, to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, for considering the matter and, if I may say so, coming to a more satisfactory conclusion than when the Bill was last before your Lordships' House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.