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The Child Support Agency: the never ending story

Date:7 AUG 2012

Kalvin P Chapman
Solicitor, Ashton Fox Solicitors Ltd

Since 1993 the Child Support Agency has been re-vamped four times. The changes still have not stopped following the recent Public Bodies Act 2011 abolishing the Commission and remitting the CSA back to the Department for Works and Pensions. Since 1993 the CSA, the Child Support Act 1991, together with the regulations, have all been challenged in one way or another in the courts. Most challenges fail. The CSA continues to fail parents. However, there is a recurring complaint raised by many practitioners, as well as the CSA customers themselves. That is that the CSA's employees, and therefore the CSA itself, is 'institutionally sexist' and applies the rules to men in a different, and harsher, way than it is applied to women. Male PWCs who were formerly NRPs find themselves unable to make progress, their applications are lost, applications are not accepted and appeals are ignored, whereas female PWCs do not face these difficulties. The author considers the possibility of a large group of men issuing a group litigation claim to challenge the CSA on the grounds that it is 'institutionally sexist' and, in many respects, is bias against men or would such a case fail, as most others have.

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