Class Action against the CSA

November 16, 2011

I have seen many comments on different people`s posts on here about why not take a class action against the CSA. Some people agree that it should be done but then it is never followed up.

So i am putting the question forward to all the parents out there that are being screwed by the CSA. How many of you are willing to do this and what would be the best way to go about it? What angle would you fight them on? One fight (mine in particular) is the discrimination of them running 2 seperate systems.

Person A has a take home pay of say £400 a week and has a morgage of say £500 a month. The relationship broke down before 2003 so is on old system rules. CSA makes them pay £100 a week.

Person B has a take home pay of say £400 a week and has a morgage of say £500 a month. The relationship broke down after 2003 so is on current system. CSA makes them pay £60 a week.

I know it cost money to take these creeps to court but if every NRP being screwed could manage to find say just a one off £5 (there are alot of NRPS being screwed) Im sure that there would be more than enough money to do it.


  • jeanette says:

    i have a son who is now 20, he has had very little or no payments of his bio-logical father, he now owes my son £4,500 arrears, i have contacted the CSA nearly every week, and keep being told, its being assessed, its gone to a case worker, then i have no case worker, then its gone to debt management, over 18 years I have been chasing for payments, its costing me as I am the one that has to keep making the phone calls, to an 0845 number, even from germany I had to do it, its a bloody joke. My ex -husband, manages to go to Hawaii on holiday, have partys etc, and support a woman who has two kids, but not his own. I am sick to death of doing the chasing, oh yeah the CSA favorite saying is change of circumstances, that one drives me up the wall, Im wanting to take further action, as the CSA are a waste of time.

  • Vic says:

    A class action is a sound idea but garnering support will be difficult. For all the suffering that the CSA causes for families in the UK there is precious little organised opposition to them and what there is tends to be fragmented, poorly attended and ineffective.

    People, I suspect, genuinely fear the CSA as successive governments overreacting to negative press, media hysteria and poorly reasoned panic about parental responsibility swayed policy makers to ever more draconian measures to obtain the collection of money at all costs whilst ignoring the painful impact of this on UK families. UK Families are now messy things and all the CSA seems to achieve is moving money from stable albeit dysfunctional family units to impoverished family units thereby doubling the number of impoverished families.
    This means the CSA creates a defeated and impoverished constituency around them with little or no appetite for a fight and much less one that will require a financial commitment. This is why a class action struggles to get off the ground even though it is an excellent idea.

    There is a MOUNTAIN of evidence about the malfeasance of the CSA and their ability to defend themselves on points of law and procedural fairness and efficacy is non existent and under the auspices of a an independent court would see them thrown into jail.

    What is needed is a Law firm with deep pockets to take them to task once and for all with a class action, probably in the European Court of Human Rights, to expose this loathsome agency for what they are.

  • Terry says:

    I have spoken to solicitors and most say that they would not touch the CSA with a barge poll. That is on single cases. A few have said the best course of action would be a class action against them.

  • rach says:

    class action is great idea my husband would be up for it! however to get it to the european courts i think we would have to go though all the court processes in the uk which would prove costly but we have sat on our arses whinging for too long about this organisation something MUST be done they are NOT above the law its just they leave you with so little money knowing that no one could afford to take them all the way!

  • Dave says:

    I have absolutely no sympathy for any parent (male or female) that does not pay CSA or regular money by arrangement for their children. When you have children, they must come first – regardless of any parent’s personal financial circumstances.

    Where do you people get off coming to this site to whine about paying a fair contribution to the keep of your children by the primary carer? Children are expensive and it can cost hundreds of pounds a month to maintain them and get all the little things they need.

    Quite frankly, if you can’t put together £50-£100 per week for the cost of children – you have no business having them. Why should one parent have all the burden? Furthermore, if welfare / child tax credits did not exist, some of your children would be living in poverty without the financial support of both parents.

    Not paying for your children is despicable.

  • Terry says:

    Thats the main problem. No body having the money to take it all the way through the courts. Thats why a class action is the best idea. There must be thousands of people on here that would like to see this unfit for purpose group in court.

  • Terry says:

    @Dave. I take it you have not even read my post.
    I do not mind paying for my daughter. What i dont like is the fact that just because we broke up before 2003 i am being made to pay almost double what some one that broke up after 2003 would have to pay. I offered my ex £60 a week.
    And also the financial burden is not shared evenly. My daughter is 14. A very intelligent girl. My ex still refuses to look for a proper job. She says that she can only work part time to be be home for when my daughter gets home from school.
    Therefore my ex gets all the unemployment benefits. Payed Rent, council tax payed, ect and all the money i pay aswell. Add it all together she is clearing over £300 a week for staying at home as she hasnt even found the part time job she wants.
    So do you think its fair that they are running 2 seperatate systems and charging different amounts to people in the same circumstances?
    My ex is spending the money on new furniture, getting a decorator and new clothes for herself. My daughter asked for a new top for her dance presentation. (She has 3 a year) and my ex told her she cant afford to buy her new clothes for them.
    So unless you know all the facts Dave please keep your opinions to yourself and dont just bundle all NRPS into the same catagory.

  • Dave says:

    @Tel, I apologise if you feel my comment was aimed at you personally – it was not. As you suggested, I did not read your post and would never dream of commenting on individual circumstances as each situation is different and often complex.

    My comment was of a general nature, criticising both sexes who begrudge paying for their children. It was also not aimed at parents who are in rightful dispute over the maintenance of their child / children and just want a fair deal for everyone involved. Such matters can be very complex, and I speak as someone who is supporting another man’s children to the tune of £500+ per month.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents out there that do not want to pay or co-operate with ex-partners. Anger, bitterness and jealousy seem to cloud the fundamental issue of the welfare and comfort of the children involved. There are indeed women who take liberties with money and also men who deprive their own children as a form of revenge against the mother. It is very sad.

    I understand your frustration with the dual CSA schemes, I guess it is just bad luck with the timing of your separation. Yet, these changes happen all the time in other areas (Student Fees, Income Tax Rates etc.) and we all suffer from time to time. I admire that you want to support your child and that you have offered your ex-partner financial support.

    On a final note, I see that you mentioned all the help your ex-partner receives from the state. This might sound funny, but I would be grateful that she has been able to claim all these items otherwise you would face even more of burden. As a 50% tax rate payer it is not in my interests for your ex-partner to clear £300 a week for staying at home – just because she had a child with you.

    It costs us all.

  • Terry norris says:

    I would like to second Terrys reply to the IDIOT @Dave
    You really are a moron and have no idea and quite obviously happy to run down and judge NRP’s because you are not being screwd by this unjust and unfair system called the morons like you that make us NRP’s to be criminals.As Terry said it’s not,we are not against the principal in paying for our children we brought into this world,it’s the way the money is taken,the amount that’s taken and as Terry said,what the PWC spend the money on…half of them are lazy ba***ds who Milf the system and use the CSA as just another source of ex walked out on me after just 9 months married,we had been together 7 yrs,I looked after her daughter from the age of 18 months and with no help from her father..then when she left me to move onto yet another mug to use..she files a claim with thes assholes to the tune of £320 a month,which is just subsidising hers and her new mans lifestyle,AND I’m never allowed to see my daughter.she uses her as a money cow,pure and simple,she has never worked since the day she left school,just sponged off the state and fathers that bared her kids.There’s no way my ex is spending the £73 a week that I’m forced to pay ,on my daughter.And another thing Mr Dave….the CSA NO NOT take any of your outgoings into consideration when they assess you,yes that’s right,no bills,no mortgage,no living cost are taken into account…now how the hell is that fair?
    So unless you know the facts about CSA and NRP’s Mr Dave……which you obviously don’t….I suggest you keep it shut
    You sir (Dave) would certainly get a punch where it hurts from me for your idiot remarks.are you related to David Cameron ? He makes idiot remarks and assumptions like you..for instance ” all absent fathers are worse than drink drivers” how dare he the wanker.

  • John says:

    I believe that a class action would force the UK to be held accountable by the European courts, on the grounds of discrimination. In that the CSA are running three systems whereby people with similar circumstances are paying differing amounts.

    Absent parents are repeatedly being targeted and branded as criminals in order to stigmatise them, by those who have little or knowledge of what it is like to be embroiled in this system.

    The system is a shambles and not fit for purpose. People over paying, people under paying and people not paying at all. £3.7 billion remains uncollected. How can this be fair on those that do pay?

    Perhaps the administrators of various protest organisations could canvass opinion and complete a properly worded e-petition asking for a review of the current mess. Failing that, lets see if we can raise our case with the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds of discrimination!

  • Terry says:

    @Dave. Ive just read your reply.
    I understand what you say about it being a general comment about men and woman that dont want topay for the upkeep of their children.
    I must poiny out though that again there are some gray areas there.
    My friend always used proctection because he didnt want kids. His ex unbeknown to him stuck a pin through the packet so it seemed like it burst when they had intercourse.
    She claimed that she was on the pill aswell. She also stated she had gone for the morning after pill. These were all lies. She had just wanted a child. He still agreed to pay what he could to the child.
    Hus ex then ran off with a new guy and refused to tell my friend where she was living or see the the child. The next thing the CSA turn up demanding money off him. Why should he pay for a child that he was tricked into and now never gets to see.
    I do agree that when you see the people out there that have no reason not to pay and do still get to see their child it is annoting. But we need a fairer system to get this right. Those that dont pay are ignored by the CSA while they hound the easy targets and make up arrears to get more money off them.

  • Dave says:

    @Terry Norris, How am I the moron? You are the one who reduced your post to punching me where it ‘hurts’. Were you the second hardest in the infants school or something when you were a kid? I understand and respect that you feel strongly about CSA issues, but I fail to see what violence would achieve?

    I should tell you that if you attacked me, you would first fail to land the punch and secondly my reaction would be so swift and powerful it would render you incapacitated on the floor. Eight years of Krav Maga practice puts a stop to most idiots.

    Neither of my posts states or implies that any parent who refuses to pay or begrudges paying CSA money is a criminal. I was simply exercising my right to an opinion on this subject – nothing more. For your information I do understand the CSA (having done considerable research to help my partner) and acknowledge that there will be flaws and people who abuse the rules as in any big public system.

    However, that fact remains that in the majority of cases the CSA are resorted to as the two parents cannot for whatever reason come to a mutual maintenance arrangement which suits and satisfies both parties. I see that your case is a little complicated but why should your expenses and living costs be considered by the CSA? It is just like asking the tax man to pay less tax because mortgages rates went up – it is not going to happen. Forget about it.

    As it happens I am not related to David Cameron, but thank god the people in power are not like Labour who spent the last decade pandering to social issues only to produce a generation of people with the least prospects and the most dependence on state handouts in history.

  • Mick says:

    A class action may very well be a good idea in principle, but most NRPs that are getting nailed by the CSA dont have a bottomless pit to cash to spend on litigation. The state does and its NRPs that work who would be footong the bill along with every other tax payer. An E petition on the other hand costs nothing. if 100 000 NRPs signed a petition to get parliament to get its finger out and force the CSA to put all NRPs on the same payment tarrif, that at least would be a step in the right direction. The CSA has had 8 years in which to change all pre 2003 cases to the new arrangements. It is shameful that a 2 tier system still operational.

    As for Dave, I have read carefully all of the statements and opinions he has left on here. The £500 a month he claims to pay for another mans kids he does by choice. Not because he has to. I am happy for him that he is a top rate tax payer. Most of us are not in such a position. I am sure that if he did have kids of his own and then became seperated from them and was forced to hand over upto 40% of his nett income by a detachment of earnings order from his salary for the next 19 years he would have a far better understanding how much harder it is for people who do NOT earn the kind of salary he earns. In answer to daves last question in his last statement. In most cases of divorce, its the NRP who is usually the bread winner who ends up with a nice sizeable legal bill to settle after the dust has settled, along with whatever settlement the judge decides to award the PWC prior to child maintenance coming into the equation. I was left with a costly legal bill after my divorce, as well as being shouldered with ALL of the ex marital debt ( my ex wifes also ) She walks away Scot free and i am almost at the point of bankruptcy, why shouldnt my additional living costs be taken into account Dave?
    I didnt create them! A NRP has just as much right to keep a roof over their head as a PWC does, surely? Or what if i am living with a new partner whom i also have a child with? Should my child that resides with me go without to ensure the child that doesnt reside with me and the PWC of that child are ok?

    It seem pretty obvious to me that Dave has never been in the situation that most NRPs find themselves in. He would probably crying his eyes out on here if he were in the situation where he tried to come to a reasonable settlement with an ex who had his child and she stuck her 2 fingers up to his offer then went via the CSA route knowing full well she would get more that way. 15% or 20% of your nett salary every week or month or however often you get paid is a lot more than what you claim to shell out currently on kids that arent yours that you pay for by choice.Lets say for the sake of arguing Dave that your salary is £180k per year. Your tax and N.I leave you with just under £100k. Then Mr CSA trots in and demands £20k a year maintenance from you but they take around 18 months to set up a payemant schedule and they then say you owe around £30k in arrears, so to pay it back they set your maintenance at £30k a year for the next god knows how many years. Then lets say you were forced by a judge to sell the marital pad that you paid for and had to give your ex half of the value or equity in the place, even though she never paid a penny towards the cost of buying it, plus upto 50% of what ever you had tucked away in a cushy little pension scheme and then left with a tidy legal bill besides. Methinks after all that Dave your attittude would be very different to the one you have currently. It would make the £500 he reckons he spends currently feel like chump change!

  • Terry says:

    Right people.

    I have just looked on the gov e-petition website and there are a few petitions on there.
    Here is the place to find them.

    We should all go and look at them and sign the ones we agree with.

  • Dave says:

    It would seem that my opinion on the CSA and the matters of providing maintenance for children are offending people – so I will make one final post and bow out of the conversation.

    Mick, I can assure you that I actually fork out more than £500 per month for the upkeep and well-being of two children that are not mine. Admittedly, I find it difficult to justify at times, especially as their father is such a bitter individual who refuses to pay regular money and seems to think the children and their mother should fit around his life.

    A lot of NRPs have this idea that children should only cost so much a week, as if there is some ideal sweet spot that will continue to be sufficient until the children are adults. There are too many variables, such as the number of children and the gender of children – not to mention the fact that the cost of keeping children increases considerably as they get older and become teenagers.

    Some people will always be happy to pay the bare minimum to raise their children and rely on others and the state to fill the gaps. Personally, I believe in providing more than basic sustenance and believe my children (step or otherwise) should have all the little extras and comforts to make for a pleasant and memorable childhood. Every kid deserves the innocence of childhood, without the continued exposure to arguments and the division of loyalties between their mother and father.

    Legal bills, marital debt and material divorce settlements having nothing to do with the lifelong needs of children. They may have an initial impact on where they live and how much each parent has after the proceeds of a divorce, but the fact remains, children cost money – a lot of money.

    Finally, my advice (take it or leave it) to any NRP is:

    1. Accept your relationship with your partner is over. Let go of any bitterness or possessiveness. Focus on your children – they might be the ones looking after you one day.

    2. Accept that people move on and find new relationships. You will do so yourself at some point and you should hope that the new partners you both find are decent and willing to take on the responsibility of step children.

    3. Your children will cost you. They will cost time, love and money. There is no escaping it. As an NRP you have the time and freedom to earn a full wage and enjoy the flexibility of not having your children every hour of the day.

    4. Provided there are no special circumstances or a court order, work out a good routine for access and stick to it. Be punctual and if practical offer to do pick-ups or dropping off now and again – you would be surprised how much friction this reduces and how much good will it creates.

    5. It is much better to come to an arrangement with money, set up a direct debit and live with the financial burden of your children. We all have to.

    6. If the CSA are resorted too, then I would recommend co-operating fully so the most accurate assessment can be made. I would start putting money aside immediately to counter any arrears as a result of delays in setting up payment schedules.

    7. Money is one thing, but the real cost is the damage made to a childhood, so if for no other sake try and make this as easy on the children as you possible can.

    I wish you all the best and hope you can all find your own peaceful resolution to your individual situations.

  • John says:

    The CSA are the WHOLE problem. I have 12 years of experience from this shambolic system and incompetent staff.

    It is for parents to make provision for THEIR children. It has absolutely nothing to do with civil servants OR politicians. The children do not belong to the state!

    Attempting to criminalise and impoverise NRP’s is the wrong way to go about ensuring that parents provide for their children!

  • janet says:

    Well done dave!

  • Mick says:

    Dave, im glad you can afford to be as generous as you are. Yes, some of the comments you have made on here probably have got up some peoples noses, mine too if im honest about it.As much as i applaud your advice, you have never really been in the postion either financially or emotionally that most NRPs and PWCs are when it comes to child maintenance issues or issues of access even. Be thankful that you most likely never will be. It is a free country and you are entitled to your opinion just as much as the next person. Thats what these forums are about. You have a very priveleged life and some of the opinions you have expressed are going to piss people off. Maybe that was your aim. If it was, you succeeded with flying colours.

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