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Janet Hughes

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regard she had to the Lord Chancellor's guidelines in relation to ability to pay in taking the decision to pursue costs from Ms Janet Hughes. [125394]

A person's ability to pay an order for costs is a factor which Defra takes into account in all cases. In Janet Hughes' case this was why Defra:

  • (a) wrote to her on three occasions Wore taking enforcement action asking her to put forward payment proposals, which she refused to do;
  • (b) has suspended enforcement action in order to try to reach an agreement which is acceptable to both parties;
  • (c) has repeatedly stated in correspondence that it would like to resolve this matter by agreement, and that it is prepared to set payments at a realistic level.