§ [No. 31]
§ Leave out Clause 25 and insert the following new clause:
§ Extention of county court's power to make administration order
§ '.—(1) Where, on application to a county court for an attachment of earnings order to secure the payment of a judgment debt, it appears to the court that the debtor also has other debts, the court—
- (a) shall consider whether the case may be one in which all the debtor's liabilities should be dealt with together and that for that purpose an order should be made for the administration of his estate; and
- (b) if of opinion that it may be such a case, shall have power (whether or not it makes the attachment of earnings order applied for), with a view to making an administration order, to order the debtor to furnish to the court a list of all his creditors and the amounts which he owes to them respectively.
§ (2) If, on receipt of the list referred to in subsection (1)(b) above, it appears to the court that the debtor's whole indebtedness amounts to not more than the amount for the time being specified in section 148(1)(b) of the County Courts Act 1959 (limit of total indebtedness governing county court's power to make administration order on application of debtor), the court may make such an order in respect of the debtor's estate, subject however to section 20(3) of the Administration of Justice Act 1965 (which requires that, before such an order is made, notice is to be given to all the creditors and thereafter restricts the right of any creditor to institute bankruptcy proceedings).
§ (3) Where under subsection (1) above a county court orders a person to furnish to it a list of all his creditors, the making of the order shall, for the purposes of the Bankruptcy Act 1914, be an act of bankruptcy by him.
§ (5) In Part VII of the said Act 1959 (administration orders)—
- (a) in section 153 (appropriation of money paid under administration order), paragraph (a) (which requires appropriation first in satisfaction of the plaintiff's costs) shall be omitted and, for the word "next" there shall be substituted the word" first"; and
- (b) in section 156(1) (power of Lord Chancellor to make rules about administration orders), after the words "the objects of this Part of this Act" there shall be inserted the words "and section (Extension of county court's power to make administration order) of the Administration of Justice Act 1970".'
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, here I shall welcome assistance from the noble Viscount because this is a 1017 long new clause, which replaces Clauses 11(9) and 25. It enables the county court to make an administration order on an application for an attachment of earnings order, and lays down the procedure to be followed in such a case. The main principle was already there, but this has been improved administratively in a good many ways. While I shall be happy to deal with any particular points which the noble Viscount, or any other noble Lord, may have in mind, it would save a good deal of time if the House is satisfied that that is the object and is prepared to accept it as such. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—[The Lord Chancellor.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, again I think the noble and learned Lord is quite right. Most of this is technical. It, incidentally, causes the death of my one Parliamentary child in this Bill, because it replaces an Amendment I got into one of the earlier clauses. But I am not sorry; I do not think it was a very sturdy infant. The principle, if I may change the metaphor, has been reproduced here and the whole matter has obviously been thought through again, certainly in my mind, with the result that it has been improved. I think that there are again matters here which go towards consolidation, or at any rate would help in that direction, and I certainly welcome the new clause. It is an important one, but not one on which we ought to insist on further explanation.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.