The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): I am publishing a response to the consultation paper The Debt Claim Process: helping people in debt to engage with the problem.
This was a formal consultation exercise undertaken by Her Majestys Courts Service to report the findings of a pre-action protocol pilot and to seek views on other proposals for increasing debtor engagement and streamlining court processes.
Do nothingsimply retain the current requirements.
Introduction and operation of the PANthis would require all creditors to issue a pre-action notice generated by the court. Where there was no response to this the creditor would be free to start proceedings.
Strengthening of the current civil procedure rules requirementsthis option discussed whether the existing requirements should be extended to include: provision of information about negotiating with the creditor; how payment could be made; sources of free independent advice and assistance; and time to obtain advice.
Introduction of a debtor protocolintroducing a requirement that debtors must respond to claims or face possible cost sanctions.
The introduction of a claims payments orderthis would allow creditors to move directly to the enforceable order stage when a debtor failed to respond after mandatory pre-action steps had been followed. This measure was designed to target the won't pay group more directly.
The response rate to the consultation was lowaround 8 per cent.possibly due to the number of times these topics had previously been aired. However, it was clear that there was little support from any of the sectors for the introduction of the PAN, a debtor protocol, or the CPO. There was, however, a general support for strengthening the existing requirements covering pre-action behaviour in the CPR. This will now be considered by the Civil Justice Council (CJC).
Copies of the response paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are also available on the internet at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/cp2207.htm.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): I have today laid before Parliament the Mental Capacity Act 2005 deprivation of liberty safeguards code of practice, along with the accompanying explanatory memorandum.
The deprivation of liberty safeguards were inserted into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 by the Mental Health Act 2007. They protect against the arbitrary detention of people who lack the capacity to consent to the arrangements made for their care or treatment and who need to be deprived of their liberty, in their own best interests and for their own safety, in either hospitals or care homes. They will rectify the breach of Article 5 of the ECHR identified by the ECHR in HL v UK 2004the Bournewood' case.
Section 42 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires the Lord Chancellor to issue a code of practice to provide information and guidance on how the safeguards will work in practice. A draft version of the code was published for full public consultation in 2007. One hundred and ten individuals and organisations responded and many of the suggestions and comments received have been incorporated into the final version.
The Act requires a range of people to have regard to the code, for example anyone acting in a professional or paid role in relation to someone who lacks capacity, but it particularly focuses on those who have a duty of care to a person who lacks the capacity to consent to the care or treatment that is being provided, where that care or treatment may include the need to deprive the person of their liberty.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. David Hanson): On 17 March, by way of a written ministerial statement (Official Report, Col. 49WS), together with my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Dawn Primarolo) and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Ivan Lewis), I announced: additional Department of Health funding for prison clinical drug treatment; a national prison drug treatment review group, to be chaired by Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel; and publication of the executive summary of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, A Review of Prison Based Drug Treatment Funding, December 2007.
Following considerable interest in the report, I am today with my right hon. Friend the Minister of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State announcing publication in full of the PwC report. The report provides a more detailed analysis of the PwC conclusions. Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel will now consider the PwC recommendations, agree a single set of priorities and compile national guidance around the streamlining of the commissioning, delivery funding and performance management of drug treatment for offenders.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): I regret to inform the House that the answer I gave on 19 May to a parliamentary question, [Official Report, Column 33W], about numbers of MCA staff taking industrial action during the recent strikes, was incorrect.
The number of staff, by Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, who have taken strike action in each strike affecting the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in the last five years, is shown as follows:
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