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Breakdown cover: Part 1

Date:20 MAR 2019
Third slide
Solicitor Advocate

The 25th anniversary of the opening of the doors of the Child Support Agency (now Child Maintenance Service (CMS)) was reached with no enthusiasm on my part on 3 April 2018. The Department for Work and Pensions presides over a Kafkaesque scheme. For example it hopelessly delays necessary enforcement and needlessly involves five different courts and tribunals:

  • magistrates’ courts civil jurisdiction (eg committal for enforcement of arrears);
  • the family court (eg lump sum deduction orders);
  • the county court (charging orders: arrears);
  • first-tier tribunals; and
  • the upper tribunal (‘administrative’ appeals (to be explained in Part 2 of this article).

Beyond this are rights to appeal: to the High Court Family Division to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court (with permission). Alongside this is judicial review often the only means of challenge to child support delegated legislation and CMS civil servant decision-making (to be explained in Part 3 of this article). The number of courts almost randomly involved represents a pinnacle of bureaucratic ineptitude. To preserve the administrative appeals structure may be inevitable. Not to combine the rest of child support work in the family courts is sheer laziness...

Read the full article here.