HL Deb 26 July 2000 vol 616 cc493-5

22A.—(1) If the company enters into any transaction to which this paragraph applies—

  1. (a) the company is liable to a fine, and
  2. (b) if any officer of the company, without reasonable excuse, authorised or permitted the company to enter into the transaction, he is liable to imprisonment or a fine, or both.

(2) A company enters into a transaction to which this paragraph applies if it—

  1. (a) enters into a market contract,
  2. (b) gives a transfer order,
  3. (c) grants a market charge, or
  4. (d) provides any collateral security.

(3) The fact that a company enters into a transaction in contravention of this paragraph does not—

  1. (a) make the transaction void, or
  2. (b) make it to any extent unenforceable by or against the company.

(4) Where during the moratorium a company enters into a transaction to which this paragraph applies, nothing done by or in pursuance of the transaction is to be treated as done in contravention of paragraphs 12(1)(f), 14 or 16 to 22.

(5) Paragraph 20 does not apply in relation to any property which is subject to a market charge or a collateral security charge.

(6) In this paragraph, "transfer order", "collateral security" and "collateral security charge" have the same meanings as in the settlement finality regulations.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.]

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 17:

Page 22, line 43, at end insert ("but may only apply within 7 days of the decision taken by the creditors' meeting").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we proposed a similar amendment in Committee. The Minister rejected the amendment because he said the timing of any application by a member of a company was not critical for the nominee or the supervisor. Therefore, there was no reason to restrict the time period during which a member of the company could make such an application. By contrast, at Report the Minister said there might be an advantage to having a cut-off point beyond which such applications could not be made. He said the Government would reflect and perhaps amend the Bill to that purpose. It may be that my amendment is otiose but we shall see. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I have avoided using the offensive word "otiose" in respect of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, has a good point with the amendment. I said so at Report. Perhaps I did not say So glowingly enough for his taste. He said in Committee that there should be a time limit on the ability of a member of a company to go to court if the decision of a creditors' meeting—which takes effect under paragraph 35 of Schedule A1 or paragraph 5 of Schedule 2—differs from that made by the company meeting. We still take the view that that will normally be self-regulating. But we can see that there is an advantage in there being a cut-off point beyond which applications cannot be made. We shall be amending the Bill in another place to that purpose. We think that seven days is too short a period for a member to consider his position and make any application to the court which he considers appropriate under this paragraph. We think that a 28-day period would be more appropriate. However, I hope it will be thought that the coming together of minds is sufficient for the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, I am more than content with the glowing support shown by the Minister for the principle lying behind the amendment. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 18 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 19 and 20:

Page 29, line 17, leave out ("and 22(1)") and insert ("22(1) and 22A(1)(a)"). Page 30, line 14, at end insert— Chapter Short title Extent of repeal

("Sch. Al, para. 22A(1)(a). Company entering into market contract, etc. 1. On indictment. 2. Summary. A fine. The statutory maximum.
Sch. A1, para. 22A(1)(b). Authorising or permitting company to do so. 1. On indictment. 2. Summary. 2 years or a fine, or both. 6 months or the statutory maximum, or both.")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Company voluntary arrangements]:

[Amendments Nos. 21 to 25 not moved.]

Schedule 3 [Individual voluntary arrangements]: [Amendments Nos. 26 to 30 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Baroness Buscombe

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Kingsland and I believe that we have made considerable progress on a number of important issues in the Bill, although it continues to be our submission that, in a sense, the Bill's timing is somewhat premature. We thank the Minister for the positive way in which he has responded to a fair number of those issues. I wish also to pay tribute to and thank two people who have helped us; namely, Mr Peter Griffiths and Mr Bernard Weatherill QC, whose collective skill and considerable experience on this subject matter have been invaluable.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her words, which I reciprocate.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.