Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2012] All ER (D) 316 (Oct)
Neutral Citation: [2012] EWCA Civ 1379
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Ward, Richards and Patten LJJ

Representation James Eadie QC and Katherine Olley (instructed by Child Maintenance Litigation and Advice Team) for the Commission.
  Richard Gordon QC and Matthew Stockwell (instructed by Forshaws Davies Ridgway LLP) for the defendants.
Judgment Dates: 30 October 2012


Child - Maintenance - Child support - Non-resident parent - Absent parents failing to make child support payments - Claimant Commission obtaining warrants for committal - Parents appealing - Whether threshold pre-requisites routinely observed by Commission - Whether court failing to consider driving disqualification as alternative sanction - Whether procedures and practices compliant with right to fair trial - European Convention on Human Rights, art 6.

The Case

Child Maintenance. The defendants had been committed to a term of imprisonment for non-payment of child support. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed both of their appeals. In the first case, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission had not followed the correct steps. In the second case, the court had failed to consider disqualification from driving as an alternative. The court criticised of the form of summons used by the Commission and its approach to the burden of proof which lay upon it.

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