HL Deb 16 December 2002 vol 642 c516

6.55 p.m.

Lord Williams of Mostyn rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 25th November be approved.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is another excellent order, but there is a word or two that I can further say on its behalf. The order seeks to amend and consolidate the law in Northern Ireland and to introduce provisions broadly in line with those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Insolvency Act 2000 is our base. Disqualification for unfitness, which is a critically important means of protecting the public from those who abuse limited liability, can, at present, be achieved only by court proceedings. The order introduces disqualification by consent as an alternative to court proceedings through the director giving an undertaking to the department. Therefore, it will be quicker and cheaper, and will avoid the use of lawyers. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 25th November be approved.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

Lord Glentoran

My Lords, I have no difficulty in agreeing to this order. During my time in business, it took far too long for this type of procedure to be taken with company directors who had defaulted. It should be quicker, faster and save money.

Lord Smith of Clifton

My Lords, we, too, support the order. It may be not before time if the recession bites even deeper, though I am happy to note that so far Northern Ireland's economy has been buoyant enough to weather out the storms of contemporary economic forces.

Lord Laird

My Lords, the House will be interested to note that when the provision of this and the insolvency order were debated in the Assembly, no one other than the Minister responsible contributed to the proceedings. That illustration demonstrates that there is agreement among all political parties in relation to the provision before them. However, the most notable point is that the Minister who introduced and advocated the legislation was the Ulster Unionist Minister, Sir Reg Empey. Therefore, your Lordships will not be surprised to learn that I am delighted to support the order.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, I am grateful. I commend the order to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.