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Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 16:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 17 not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 18:

    Page 11, line 7, at end insert "other than the home of the person"

The noble Baroness said: I shall speak also to Amendment No. 20. In the long group led by Amendment No. 10, I wondered whether the Minister's notes for Report were headed not only, "Resist", but "Take a swat at the Liberal Democrats and suggest that they do not like the policy", when all that we are trying to do is to improve the Bill; we do not oppose the policy.

Having got that off my chest, I turn to the amendments, which were tabled to ask the Minister to explain what is achieved by excluding someone from his home when what is sought to be remedied may be dealt with by remedies elsewhere. I immediately thought of the example of domestic violence, where one might indeed suggest that the perpetrator of violence should be excluded from his—it is normally his—home; but that does not seem to be what the Bill is aimed to achieve.

There are other sanctions than those provided by the Bill against the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour. As I said, I do not follow what is intended to be achieved by excluding an individual from his home by means of injunction. If necessary, that can be achieved by possession proceedings.

We are all of course aware—although we do not mention it on every group of amendments—that the consequence of such injunctions or possession proceedings may well be homelessness. Creating homelessness cannot have any of the benefits intended by the Bill. I do not need to describe the consequences: the social exclusion of individuals and the real problems that may contribute to a fast, vicious downward spiral.

The legislation affects those living in social housing. It emphasises large differences between those in social housing and owner-occupiers. I am sure that, as a group or class, owner-occupiers are not immune to

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conducting themselves in an anti-social manner. If the intention is to prevent anti-social behaviour by making anti-social behaviour injunctions an alternative to possession proceedings, does not that power defeat the legislation?

I hope that the Minister will assist the House with an explanation of what the provisions I am probing with my amendments are aiming at. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Baroness explained the impact of her amendment expertly as always. Its effect would be to remove the ability to exclude a person from their home as part of a Clause 13 injunction. I appreciate that the noble Baroness may feel that excluding someone from his or her home is a very strong power. She is right. It is a very strong power. However, it is a crucial part of the overall protection offered by the injunctions. In the most serious cases, where people within a neighbourhood require immediate protection from violent or threatening behaviour, or forms of harm such as racial or sexual harassment, it is an appropriate remedy.

Having said that, of course there will be safeguards against the misuse of the power. It will be available only where there has been violence; a threat of violence; or there is a significant risk of harm to a person mentioned in new Section 153A(4). Judges will grant an injunction excluding a person from their own home only where they consider it necessary and proportionate, given all the facts of the case. There will be no change to long established tests that courts apply when granting injunctions. A power of exclusion will not be used lightly by the judiciary and it is certainly not the case that in every instance of violence, the threat of violence, or a significant risk of harm, an excluding injunction will be granted. The clause is clear that a power is being given to the courts, not an obligation imposed on them, which is an important point to bear in mind.

The amendment would have an unintended consequence. Those living in the next street to an anti-social tenant could, where the court was satisfied that there had been a threatened use of violence against or that there was a real risk of harm to residents of that street, be protected from contact with a violent or abusive person by way of an antisocial behaviour injunction. Those living in immediate proximity to that anti-social tenant could not be protected by way of injunction. I suggest that direct neighbours need this protection just as much as those living marginally further away. I am sure that the noble Baroness did not intend such an anomaly to arise as a result of her amendment. Allowing the amendment to pass would mean that those often in most immediate need—those living in the closest proximity to an anti-social tenant—could not be adequately or properly protected.

I do not need to remind the House that social landlords face a huge problem in their attempts to deal with anti-social behaviour: the reluctance of victims and witnesses to come forward and give evidence in court, which makes their job even more difficult. Even

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if there is no explicit intimidation, the possibility of having to confront that person as one comes and goes from one's home can be hugely stressful. I am sure we have all experienced such cases. Under the clause as it stands, the perpetrator can be immediately excluded from the place where they have been causing problems. Victims and witnesses who live in close proximity to the perpetrator will be protected from such intimidation and given immediate relief in the run-up to a court case. That should, in turn, increase attendance at court by victims and witnesses and result in more successful outcomes.

As we now seem to agree that the legislation is worthy of support, I hope we will agree that that is an aim worth pursuing. The noble Baroness asked whether the injunction would exclude only the perpetrator. Eviction would affect the whole household. I hope that explanation clarifies the matter.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, the Minister elegantly did it again. We have not challenged this part of the Bill and this policy at this stage or any other. In his rationale for the provisions he relied on the need to protect victims of anti-social behaviour who live closest to the perpetrator. I am not sure whether that includes those who live in the same premises as the perpetrator. He gave the example of close neighbours. Where he confused me is that it is still open to the courts to make an injunction against behaviour without making an injunction against someone living in a particular residence. I am trying to find a way by which I can understand and justify what he is saying. It may be easier to enforce an injunction excluding someone from premises than to enforce an injunction against a series of acts of behaviour. I make the point because the Minister might want to say that is part of the Government's thinking, but he is not rising to do so.

I will read in Hansard what he said. I cannot say that I am wholly persuaded, but I thank him for his answer and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 not moved.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 21:

    Page 12, line 14, at end insert—

"(c) in relation to a neighbourhood, the whole of the housing accommodation owned or managed by a relevant landlord in the neighbourhood and any common areas used in connection with the accommodation."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 14 [Security of tenure: anti-social behaviour]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 22:

    Page 13, line 35, after "unless" insert "an anti-social behaviour injunction has previously been made against the tenant and remains in force and"

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 24. The amendment takes us to the issue of demoted

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tenancies in Clause 14. As drafted, the court can make a demotion order in respect of a tenant whether or not an injunction has been made against the tenant, although the injunction cannot be made in the absence of the conduct at which it is aimed.

If an anti-social behaviour injunction is made, the person against whom it is made should have the chance to comply with it before any further sanction is applied. If the perpetrator—I do not know whether injunctee is the correct term—adheres to the terms of the injunction, why is it necessary to impose a further penalty by way of demotion of the tenancy? If there is an injunction there is already a sanction in any event against the breach of the injunction because the person in question would be in contempt of court.

There is also a sanction regarding the status of the tenancy, as the court has in any event the power to make a suspended possession order based on a complaint of anti-social behaviour in a claim for possession based on one of the existing grounds for possession. The amendments seek to give the tenant a last chance. A number of noble Lords spoke at the previous stage of the Bill about the importance of prevention and of persuading tenants who behave badly to improve their behaviour. This is part of that.

At the last stage, the Government also clarified the position with regard to right-to-buy and confirmed that a demotion would take the tenant back to square one. That had been puzzling me and I was glad to hear the Government's explanation. I considered the point and, after consultation with others, took the view that, if the objective was to prevent anti-social behaviour, the loss of right-to-buy was a logical sanction. That decision was influenced by my agreeing with comments from the Government Front Bench about prevention and changing attitudes and behaviour. The amendments would apply that approach one stage further. I beg to move.

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