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CHILD SUPPORT: Farley v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (No 2) [2005] EWCA Civ 869

Date:22 JUN 2005

(Court of Appeal; Lord Woolf CJ and Lord Philllips of Worth Matravers MR; 22 June 2005) [2005] 2 FLR 1075

An order had previously been made by the Court of Appeal on 27 January 2005 and the Court of Appeal held that it had lacked jurisdiction to hear that appeal in civil proceedings from a High Court judge who had heard an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of justices: Supreme Court Act 1981, ss 18 and 28A, as substituted by the Access to Justice Act 1999, s 61, and Westminster City Council v O'Reilly [2003] EWCA Civ 1007, [2004] 1 WLR 195. This was an exceptional case and the Court of Appeal could legitimately exercise a degree of procedural ingenuity, in the interests of the administration of justice, to rely on its earlier decision. The court would waive procedural requirements as to the form of an application for judicial review and treat an application as having been made by Mr Farley for judicial review. Sitting as a court of first instance, the court would grant leave to apply for judicial review but would refuse the application. On an undertaking from Mr Farley to lodge a notice of appeal, the court sitting as the Court of Appeal would then allow the appeal and grant a decision in the terms of the January order. The benefit would then be that if the House of Lords granted permission to appeal, the correctness of the Court of Appeal's reasoning would be considered, and, if permission were refused, the January judgment would be available for the future guidance of litigants. It would not be a judgment that caused confusion due to its uncertain status.