All 6 Baroness Deech contributions to the Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21

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Tue 5th Jan 2021
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2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading
Mon 25th Jan 2021
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Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage
Wed 10th Feb 2021
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Committee stage:Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 8th Mar 2021
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Report stage & Report stage & Lords Hansard
Mon 15th Mar 2021
Wed 17th Mar 2021

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Department: Home Office

Domestic Abuse Bill

Baroness Deech Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 5th January 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, this has been a very depressing debate. I had thought that maybe our record of domestic violence in this country was outstandingly bad but—and this is also depressing—we are by no means the worst in Europe, nor are we the worst in the world. It is far worse in Africa, India, south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. It is very bad in South Africa, Turkey and, oddly enough, New Zealand, which is otherwise such a paragon of governance. Maybe this is for religious reasons or maybe it is cultural, but it seems that those religions and cultures which treat women as less than equal are the ones that are prone to domestic violence.

There are gaps in this very welcome Bill. It should make threats to share intimate images a criminal offence. True, the Law Commission is conducting a review of harm online, but it would be quicker to outlaw it right now in this Bill, in case we do not have another chance for years. The organisation Refuge reported that one in seven young women had received such a threat, mostly from current or former partners, with devastating effects. We older people who had no experience in our youth of the online phenomenon may regard the taking and sharing of intimate photos as extremely unwise in any case, but it appears to be a current fashion and, as such, its misuse must be dealt with.

There should also be improved protection for disabled victims who are subject to coercive control by carers by repealing the “best interests” defence to that crime in Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 where it applies to a caring situation. The definition of “personally connected” in Clause 2 of this Bill should include carers. Although we have the utmost respect for the carers’ profession, it is possible that, in such a close relationship of dependency, abuse may occur and not be recognised as such. When the Bill becomes law, together with Clause 66, dealing with extraterritorial jurisdiction, I hope that the UK can ratify the 2012 Istanbul convention.

I hope that attention will be paid to the perpetrators of domestic violence, their motives and their education. It should be perpetrators who are evicted from a joint tenancy, not a mother and children being rendered homeless, as is typical. Early intervention to restrain perpetrators is welcome. It is good news that compulsory relationships education has been introduced into schools; this includes teaching on what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. It is shameful that there should be any opposition to this, especially from faith groups, whom I suspect might be in denial about domestic violence carried out by their own adherents. The Drive project works with perpetrators to change attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and their other problems. A review by Bristol University found that three-quarters of the perpetrators improved their behaviour after intervention.

Incidentally, I fear that the introduction of no-fault divorce later this year might also increase abuse, because a divorce application will come out of the blue, without any period of separation. This might well incite, for example, the husband against whom it is directed and whose potential for abuse may have led to the need to start divorce proceedings.

Finally, we need a continuing government publicity campaign to make the public aware of the aims of this Bill and to publicise the fact that third parties can apply for domestic violence orders and notices, not just victims. I leave the final word to Her Majesty the Queen, who, in her Christmas broadcast, used the phrase “You are not alone”, which is the key message of domestic violence protection. That augurs well for this excellent Bill.

Domestic Abuse Bill Debate

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Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 25th January 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

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As legislators, we have a duty to do our utmost to protect those trapped in this way. As well as providing support to the victims, characterising the situation in British law as domestic abuse or criminal behaviour may be of assistance to the rabbinic courts. We hope that they will work with us to find a better resolution to this terrible agunah problem. I beg to move.
Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, like the other stories lying behind the need for this Bill, this set of amendments reveals a shameful story. I am pleased to support this group of amendments and to support the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann. There could be as many as 100 women at a time caught in this situation who are known to the religious courts. It is not uncommon for women to secure their release by paying sums extorted from them by acts comparable to blackmail. The grant of the get can be used by the husband as leverage. A recent case involved a woman paying her ex-husband £50,000 for her freedom after 15 years of being chained; others have cost similar five-figure sums. It is reported that more abuse occurs nowadays than previously, perhaps connected to higher divorce rates and higher financial obligations imposed by secular courts. It is true that a religious divorce needs the woman’s agreement as well, but her refusal can be overridden by a religious court whereas a man’s cannot. Noble Lords can imagine what we women think of this and the lack of respect we have for the rabbinic authorities who manage to find all sorts of loopholes in religious law but not in this one.

It is embarrassing to have to turn to secular law for relief. The Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002 allows parties to ask a judge to delay a decree absolute until a religious divorce is finalised, but this law is ineffective if the husband does not care about getting a civil divorce. Then there is the Serious Crime Act 2015, Section 76, which is referred to in the amendment too. In the circumstances of a get refusal, there have been prosecutions launched against wholly unreasonable and controlling husbands under that section, which created the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. Withholding the get fits well within that section. It is not, however, retrospective, and a person bringing a private prosecution has to be prepared to foot the bill for their legal costs. The section needs the proof of intent to cause fear of violence or serious distress. The cases about the get brought under this section never came to court because, once the husband had been served with the charge, he caved in. The result is that there is no precedent that this section can in fact be used where a get is withheld.

So why will the potential of Section 76 not suffice for the cruel treatment that has been described? The answer is that there would be advantages to dealing with unreasonable withholding of the get in the domestic abuse setting rather that of the Serious Crime Act. The use of a domestic abuse protection notice or order would open the door to a range of support for the victim. It also would mean that, rather than a criminal procedure, the perpetrator—usually, but not always, the husband—will be subject to a civil preventive measure, the notice, not a finding of guilt. A domestic abuse protection order can contain appropriate conditions, and must not conflict with the perpetrator’s religious beliefs. It is important that a domestic abuse order or notice be perceived as less coercive than a criminal conviction under the Serious Crime Act 2015. This is because a strict interpretation of the orthodox Jewish law requires that the husband be not directly coerced into giving the get; it has to be voluntary, as is widely understood. I am not defending this for a moment but, for those for whom the correct religious forms are important, and bearing in mind the impact on their present and future families, a domestic abuse protection notice or order would be a lifeline in secular and religious terms.

I support this set of amendments, which define the unreasonable withholding of a get as abusive behaviour; that is, when one spouse acts in a way which is controlling, coercing or threatening, or abusing the other spouse’s normal civil liberty of being able to remarry and have children in accordance with her beliefs. I hope that this House and the Government will extend a helping hand and free these unfortunate women.

Lord Polak Portrait Lord Polak (Con)
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My Lords, I will speak to Amendments 3, 5, 168, 169 and 170. I congratulate my noble friend Lady Altmann on her excellent introduction. I am delighted that my Government are putting forward this Bill and its attempt to provide as comprehensive as possible a set of arrangements relating to domestic abuse; it has my strong support. I am particularly grateful to the Ministers, my noble friends Lady Williams of Trafford and Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, for their willingness to engage.

To be clear, as my noble friend Lady Altmann said, the majority of cases of Jewish divorce are completed without too much difficulty; in the Orthodox community, they are handled by a beth din, and the judges—or dayanim—of the beth din ensure that all provisions of Jewish law are fully and appropriately adhered to. However, there are far too many cases where a man with ill intent can frustrate the process with potentially devastating ramifications for his spouse and, of course, his children. These amendments are clearly being proposed to ensure that victims of domestic abuse or coercive behaviour have full access to the provisions of the Bill. The amendments do not reduce the court’s existing ability to allow the religious courts to apply halacha—Jewish law—or, in particular, the provisions of the Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002, which had the support of Lord Jakobovits, Lord Sacks and the London Beth Din.

As a practising member of the modern orthodox community, let me be absolutely clear: I am not remotely qualified to make statements on behalf of anyone, and certainly not on behalf of the beth din. However, I acknowledge that the beth din of the United Synagogue should be commended on the efforts it has made to limit the number of agunot—chained women. It has recently and rightly taken out adverts in the Jewish press that name and shame Jewish men who have refused to give a get, but sadly there is still so much more to do. However, these are overriding matters for the religious authorities and they should continue their own deliberations, although I believe that there may be scope for the Minister, my noble friend Lord Wolfson, to explore potential opportunities with the beth din going forward.

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Committee stage & Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 10th February 2021

(3 years ago)

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Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I am proud to stand with the other signatories to the amendment, which is eminently sensible. Sadly, our discussions on the Bill have uncovered the nasty elements of the ways in which one human being can behave towards another. This is another example.

Stereotypically, it is the mother with children most in need of staying put, housing and avoiding children changing school. It is much more difficult to rehouse her if he causes her to flee. We must therefore remove the power of the abuser who is a joint tenant to remove the victim. The amendment would allow the victim to apply for a tenancy transfer, even if she has already been forced to flee. He, the perpetrator, could potentially cause rent arrears and damage to the property, for which she would be responsible.

It is a shame that the amendment cannot apply to private tenancies. Are there no alternatives? At the moment, a victim might obtain a temporary court order, such as a non-molestation or occupation order, but they are time-limited and could cost up to £5,000 at legal aid rates—more if there is no legal aid. The perpetrator might return. He may well not consent to a tenancy transfer and there is no guarantee that the landlord would grant a sole tenancy to the victim in the alternative. He, the perpetrator, might vindictively give notice to end the tenancy. Therefore, if there is a temporary eviction, it would have to be followed up by a transfer of tenancy action, again costing thousands. A married victim who is seeking a divorce could apply for a tenancy transfer under the Matrimonial Causes Act or Section 1 of the Children Act. This is all slow and expensive.

We need to avoid those complications and expenses that mean that the victim has to become homeless and start finding a home all over again. In the case of social housing, the provider can evict the perpetrator only after the victim has left the shared property. Again, she is put in a position of rendering herself homeless and hoping that someone will take care of her immediate housing needs. That is just not good enough because it is all disjointed and no-one has pulled together all the strings and pieces of legislation that might protect the victim, albeit imperfectly.

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Lord Mackay of Clashfern Portrait Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I first came across the problem with which Amendment 1 deals when I was promoting the divorce Act in 1996 and I was assisted in great measure by my late friend Lord Jakobovits, who was then the Chief Rabbi.

The problem arises, as has been explained, for a person of the Jewish faith who is married and then decides to seek divorce. If she is female, she may get a decree of divorce in the English courts, but the Jewish law to which she feels bound requires that she cannot be divorced under that law without the agreement of her husband. Some husbands who have been divorced by the English courts decline to agree that the wife should be allowed to divorce under the Jewish law which they have both agreed to follow. In that situation, the husband is able to hold the wife into the marriage which she has made clear she wishes to leave.

The exercise of power by the husband is a controlling or coercive power within the meaning of Clause 1(3) of the Bill. Since they are both over the age of 16 and have been personally connected within the meaning of Clause 2(1)(a) of the Bill, it is clear that the husband is showing what under the Bill is described—and this will shortly become law—as domestic abuse towards the wife and therefore is subject to the remedies for her provided in the Bill. No distinct amendment is required in order to bring the wife into the situation where she can receive the help that the Bill will provide when it becomes an Act.

I agree that there is a problem which cannot be solved by us about a get having to be voluntary. The use of one of the remedies may be easier than another in that situation, but one thing I am sure of is that it does not do any good to alter the provisions in Clause 1 of the Bill by these amendments, at least in respect of everything except the Serious Crime Act—but I do not think it requires anything to be done in that place, either. Adding things such as “reasonable” and “unreasonable” and so on is a mistake and the proper thing to do is to leave Clause 1 as it is, because it undoubtedly carries with it the implication that the refusal of a get is domestic abuse.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the Ministers involved have done a great service by listening to the Members who have put forward these amendments. I am pleased to support all the amendments in this group, to which I have put my name.

By accepting the need to stigmatise husbands who behave unreasonably in not giving a get, the Government are sending a signal to spiteful men and to fossilised religious authorities that compassion and secular standards have to prevail. I support the noble Lord, Lord Palmer, in all that he has said about this. The ability to refuse a religious divorce provides abusive husbands with power to control and to subvert conditions relating to the divorce, by, for example, demanding that the divorce settlement be repaid. The refusal can have a grievous effect on a woman’s entire life. She may be prevented from remarrying while still of childbearing age and there is concern for the status of children that she may have in future.

I am not defending the religious law underlying this, and it is not confined to Judaism. Nevertheless, it is accepted by some women here, and by millions around the world, but it is time for the secular law principles to prevail, all the more so since from this autumn, we will have no-fault divorce, a system which does not allow the unwilling spouse to defend a divorce at all—it must be accepted. The guidance, which I hope will contain these provisions, is a good example of how British law manages to encompass a diversity of views within its system. A man who refuses a get unreasonably in the future may even be found guilty of a criminal offence of coercive and controlling behaviour, under the Serious Crime Act 2015, because this Bill clarifies that domestic abuse provisions apply to former couples, even after separation. Nevertheless, this provision would work more effectively as a threat than an actual imprisonment, because the get must be granted by the husband without direct coercion. The clarification in the statutory guidance which we hope for will mean that this is a good day for women and a step closer to equality in religious law.

Lord Winston Portrait Lord Winston (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I speak personally in this debate. It is a privilege and a pleasure to follow the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, because I remember 1996. I was in the Chamber as a newly appointed Peer and remember very well Lord Jakobovits, who was quite a close friend.

I come from an orthodox Jewish family and I am an orthodox Jew. My grandfather was an orthodox rabbi. He taught me Hebrew and Aramaic from the age of six or seven, and his wife, my maternal grandmother, was very concerned about the problem of get. She used to try persuading the rabbinical authorities, including my grandfather, who was not a dayan—a judge—of the rightness of the cause. She remained, throughout her life, from the First World War onwards, an activist on this. My grandfather supported her with a smile, but he recognised that the Jewish courts were rather reluctant to move forward.

My mother travelled around the world trying to persuade the rabbis of the problem faced by the agunah. She spoke to American, Israeli and Australian rabbis—for example, the Chief Rabbi of Israel—and those in parts of Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, who will be speaking in this debate, can testify to how frightening my mother was. Unquestionably, many strictly orthodox rabbis appeared to be persuaded. She was always greeted with polite acquiescence, but nothing has happened, and one of the problems is that there are many different courts, so-called batte din, around the world. There is more than one in this country and they have been reluctant to work collectively in any way.

Another reason for being personally interested in this debate is that this is the week of my 48th wedding anniversary. My wife is not listening to what I am saying about divorce, by the way. Judaism differs from many other faiths because religious law is based on Talmud, which dates back to the Mishnah from the second century and the fifth century. It is a huge and remarkable compilation of discussions by the rabbis, who, of course, disagree with each other. Jews always disagree, and the Talmud is one of the few books of law of any kind which is almost entirely a matter of questions. One rabbi asks a question and another group of rabbis answers with a question. That is how the Talmud has built up. It has left Judaism almost unique in its religious format. It is not pyramidal—there is no one central authority. There is no supreme court in Judaism. I suspect that a supreme court would be in the world to come, not in this world. That has been a major problem for a few issues, particularly this issue of the chained woman.

It is embarrassing for someone such as myself to try persuading an English Parliament, to which I am absolutely committed, to help with Jewish law. I would also say that these instances of irreligious men hiding behind their religious cloak is much rarer than one might think, but none the less, there is this very important case for a few people where the future happiness of a woman, her freedom and, to some extent, the possibility of her having children is so important to her and to the community. It would at least prevent this shocking instance, so I am delighted that the Government are minded in some way to help us. I am very pleased that the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann, feels that the amendment to follow, to which I will listen with great care, will help to sort this matter out. I congratulate her on bringing forward this important matter, which affects a number of Jewish families.

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Lord Randall of Uxbridge Portrait Lord Randall of Uxbridge (Con) [V]
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My Lords, when we finished our proceedings last Wednesday, I had just spoken to a previous amendment that raised the issue of acknowledging local connection for those victims of domestic abuse who require housing. As we finished—it was rather late—I thought that my Amendment 66B, which I tabled subsequently to address the issues that my noble friend raised about social housing, was not going to be reached. However, by some quirk of luck, I find myself able to talk to it now.

Previously, I raised the potentially discriminatory way in which local authorities use local connection restrictions when responding to victims of domestic abuse who present as homeless or at risk of homelessness. My noble friend’s answer the other evening, and indeed in Committee, again focused on the fact that existing guidance should prevent this happening. However, evidence from domestic abuse services shows, sadly, that this is just not the case. I am particularly grateful to Women’s Aid for helping me and showing me examples of where this does not work. The guidance is exactly that and it is not producing the results that I think we all would like.

This new amendment addresses this issue of victims being denied social housing allocations because they have no local connection. Often, women who have escaped to a refuge need to resettle in a new area or a neighbouring one as they are still at risk in the area they fled. Women’s Aid estimates that

“over two thirds of women resident in refuge services in England had come from a different local authority area.”

Again, there is government guidance. It makes clear that

“those who have fled to a refuge in another local authority area are not disadvantaged by any residency or local connection requirements”

when accessing social housing. However, I contend that domestic abuse services continue to report that local authorities require a woman to have a local connection with their area to apply or be prioritised on letting systems.

The Government already require local authorities, when allocating housing, to make exemptions for certain groups from these local connection requirements or residency tests; this includes members of the Armed Forces and people seeking to move for work. I remember well from my caseload as a constituency MP that these exemptions exist. I am asking the Government and my noble friend: why is the same exemption not in place for victims of domestic abuse relocating for the purpose of safety? I acknowledge that there is guidance, but there is not the requirement.

It is also critical to recognise that, when women and children escape to a refuge, they start to build connections and support networks in that new area; these are vital for their ongoing recovery. After experiencing unimaginable trauma and the uprooting of their lives, children will have started to settle into nursery and school. The inconsistent way in which these survivors are then treated when seeking to access long-term housing leads to further disruption and insecurity. Again, the guidance is not doing enough in this area, I am afraid. It is vital that this law sends a clear message that local connection rules or residency requirements must never apply to allocations of social housing for victims of domestic abuse.

I want briefly to draw attention to a case study from a Women’s Aid member service that highlights the urgency and importance of my amendment:

“A has experienced domestic abuse for the last 10 years from two partners as well as witnessing domestic abuse perpetrated by her father against her mother growing up. She has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD. After fleeing her abusive partner with three children, she moved into a refuge in a London borough to be near her mother, who was her main source of support. She was only able to find a refuge in a different borough to her mother, and after six months she was required to leave that refuge. She presented to the borough her mother lives in, but she was informed she was not entitled to be housed there as she did not have a local connection. The local authority stated she had a local connection to the borough she had been living in for six months. This is despite her being a survivor of domestic abuse, having no option other than to live in the first borough where a refuge space was available at the time of fleeing and the fact that she felt at risk from the perpetrator’s extended networks there.


The borough her mother lived in then housed A and her three children, who were all under 14, in one room in mixed-sex temporary accommodation. This was extremely distressing for her. She describes feeling retraumatised from the experience of being forced to live alongside men she did not know. She also felt scared for her children, who did not feel safe in the mixed-sex hostel. The room was highly unsuitable as the entire family lived in it and were required to cook in it, which is of course unsafe for a toddler. Another child had ADHD, so A struggled to provide them with any quiet time and appropriate support. This experience also exacerbated her PTSD, depression and anxiety, and she reported feeling low and stressed regularly due to feeling unsafe in the accommodation. She is now having to live there indefinitely while the boroughs have been assigned an arbiter to decide who has a duty.”


I do not think that anybody could agree that this is a satisfactory situation. I urge my noble friend and Her Majesty’s Government to seek to put an amendment such as mine in the Bill to ensure that these sorts of examples do not occur again.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 87C, which I may press to a Division.

Last week, public discussion following the tragic death of Sarah Everard tended to emphasise that it is not for women to limit their freedom because there are violent men around—rather, that it is men who should change their behaviour and be educated into civility.

This amendment has a similar bent. It too is about shifting the burden of suffering from abusive behaviour away from the victim and on to the perpetrator. We are all agreed on the principle and I am grateful to the Minister for meetings and correspondence. The principle is that of ending the tenancy enjoyed by the perpetrator in social housing and leaving the victim in occupation, with that tenancy vested in her—if it is “her” because obviously this works both ways.

The only remaining issue is how best to draft this. It is common sense to leave the victim, possibly with children, in her home and make the perpetrator leave. It is cheaper too because rehousing the abused parent could cost from £3,000 to £11,000. We know that women’s refuges are overcrowded and short of funding. The pressure on them would be infinitely less if the woman could stay at home and not have to run away. This scheme is being tried out in Scotland and already operates in several Australian states. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 provides for the transfer of the interest from one joint tenant to another. The amendment says that if the victim applies to the court, the perpetrator may be removed as a joint tenant, provided that the tenancy is affordable for the victim. The tenancy shared by the victim and the perpetrator would be severed and the perpetrator’s tenancy would vest in the victim and any other joint tenant. The tenancy would continue in the name of the victim, but the perpetrator would remain liable for rent arrears incurred before the eviction.

Social housing providers can support the victim in managing debts, and they might even consider it right to rehouse the victim immediately in other suitable property. In the rare case where there are other joint tenants, their interests need to be considered, for their share of the housing costs might rise. The change in tenancy should have no effect on the landlord, but he or she could make representations to the court during the application process. No objections have been received so far from landlords who have been consulted by domestic abuse support organisations. Indeed, this amendment has been welcomed by the domestic abuse commissioner, the Local Government Association, Women’s Aid and related organisations.

The drafting needs to ensure that the perpetrator retains liability not only for rent arrears before he loses his tenancy but, for example, for damage he might have caused to the property. I respectfully disagree with the Minister’s concern that common law stands in the way of reassigning the property and the liabilities, because the statute would override common law. There are no human rights concerns as mentioned by the Minister. Protocol 1 of Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects property enjoyment, is subject to the right of the state to interfere when necessary in the public interest. Indeed, it is the property enjoyment rights of the victim that would be interfered with if she is driven out by the violence of the perpetrator. Article 6 provides that there should be a hearing before deprivation of a civil right, and so there will be, because the perpetrator has the right to representation in the court proceedings.

Moreover, it has been possible for a long time for an English court to act ex parte; that is, on hearing only one side where there is an urgent case. When no-fault divorce comes into force this autumn, one of life’s most important civil rights, that of staying married, will be terminated at the will of one party with no right for the other to defend or have any say in it. That has been accepted as legitimate—rather surprisingly. A rather lesser upheaval, in this case eviction, can be managed safely without any infringement of human rights, as can any fears about Article 8—the right to a private and family life. It is the victim’s rights that have been disrupted and that article goes on to say that the right may be interfered with in order to protect other people’s rights or in the public interest.

I will give noble Lords chapter and verse. Article 3 of the human rights convention prohibits “degrading treatment”. The European Court of Human Rights has held that the state had failed to provide the victim with immediate protection against a husband’s violence in a case concerning Slovakia, and that offended against the prohibition of degrading treatment. On Article 8—the right to family and private life—the European court held that this had been breached by Bulgaria and Ukraine, among others, because the state had not helped the victim. It is the victim’s right to family life which the perpetrator has destroyed. In a 2010 case involving the United Kingdom—JD and A v the United Kingdom—the court held that the victim’s property rights were violated and that she should stay put. This was about Protocol 1—the right to property. The Government themselves do not consider that there is any Article 6 breach, covering the right to trial, in their Explanatory Memorandum. That is because the perpetrator has the opportunity to make representations at a subsequent hearing. That was in a case called Micallef v Malta. All human rights as listed are subject to interference in the public interest and proportionality, so there need be no concerns at all about human rights. Let us remember that it is the victim’s human rights that have been violently disrupted.

Domestic Abuse Bill Debate

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Tabled by
87C: After Clause 72, insert the following new Clause—
“Transfer of joint tenancies and survivors of domestic abuse
(1) This section applies where there are two or more joint tenants under a secure or assured tenancy and the landlord is a local housing authority or a private registered provider of social housing.(2) If one joint tenant (“A”) has experienced domestic abuse from another joint tenant (“B”) then A may apply to the county court for an order that B is removed as a joint tenant, such application to be on notice to B, any other joint tenant, and the landlord.(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) it is sufficient that the domestic abuse was directed at A or to anyone who might reasonably be expected to reside with A.(4) On such an application, the court must take the following approach—(a) the court must be satisfied that the tenancy is affordable for A, or will be so within a reasonable period of time;(b) if the court is so satisfied, then—(i) if B has been convicted of an offence related to domestic abuse against A or anyone who might reasonably be expected to reside with A, the court must make an order under this section;(ii) if B has been given a domestic abuse protection notice under section 20, or a domestic abuse protection order has been made against B under section 26, or B is currently subject to an injunction or restraining order in relation to A, or a person who might be reasonably expected to reside with A, the court may make an order under this section;(iii) if the application does not fall within sub-paragraph (i) or (ii), then the court may make such an order if it thinks it fit to do so; (c) for the purposes of subsection (4)(b)(ii), the court must adopt the following approach—(i) if B does not oppose the making of such an order, then the court must make it;(ii) if B does oppose the making of such an order then it is for B to satisfy the court that, as at the date of the hearing, there are exceptional circumstances which mean that the only way to do justice between A and B is for the order to be refused.(5) Where A has made such an application to the court, any notice to quit served by B shall be of no effect until determination of A’s application or any subsequent appeal.(6) Notwithstanding any rule of common law to the contrary, the effect of an order under this section is that the tenancy continues for all purposes as if B had never been a joint tenant, save that B remains liable on a joint and several basis for any debts, arrears or penalties accrued prior to the making of an order under this section.(7) For the purposes of this section, an offence related to domestic abuse includes, as against A or anyone who might be reasonably expected to reside with A, an offence of violence, threats of violence, criminal damage to property, rape, other offences of sexual violence or harassment, coercive control, breach of injunction, breach of restraining order, or breach of domestic abuse protection order.(8) In section 88(2) of the Housing Act 1985, after “section 17(1) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (property adjustment orders after overseas divorce, &c.)” insert “, or section (Transfer of joint tenancies and survivors of domestic abuse) of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021,”.(9) In section 91(3)(b) of the Housing Act 1985, after sub-paragraph (iv), insert—“(v) section (Transfer of joint tenancies and survivors of domestic abuse) of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021;”.(10) In section 99B(2)(e) of the Housing Act 1985 (persons qualifying for compensation for improvements), after sub-paragraph (iv) insert—“(v) section (Transfer of joint tenancies and survivors of domestic abuse) of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021;”.(11) This section comes into force on a day appointed by the Secretary of State in regulations.”
Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, relying on the Minister’s very constructive commitment that there will be a consultation in the summer, followed by action as speedily as possible and legislation if appropriate, this amendment is not moved.

Amendment 87C not moved.