Court ruling leaves child maintenance authority ’emasculated’

November 1, 2012

Absent parents failing to give financial support to their children could escape threatened jail time after a governmental group lost a court case to pursue arrears of child support.

Experienced judges said the lack of authority would mean the regime of enforcing child maintenance payments would be “completely emasculated”.

A ruling from The Court of Appeal showed that “muddled” processes that the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) used in two different cases of absent fathers had gone so far as to affect the human rights of the fathers. The Court of Appeal ordered that urgent steps should be taken to correct the procedures.

The ruling threw out the possibility of jail for the two men and was made, according to Lord Justice Ward, with “considerable reluctance”. The two men were alleged to have owed around £13,000 in unpaid child maintenance.

Ward acknowledged that the ruling was likely to remove the clout from the CMEC but added that these powers were only used as a final attempt to persuade absent parents to pay.

Ward said:

“Without the carrot – or the stick – of commitment (to prison) the chances of recovering arrears of child support are very significantly reduced, if not almost completely emasculated.

“This is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs.”

Ward added that the “muddled” methodology the CMEC used suggested to investigators that absent parents had to prove they were innocent.

Ward, along with two other judges, Lords Justice Patten and Richard, concluded the fathers were not given the chance of a fair hearing, which breached Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judges concluded:

“The procedures adopted do not comply with the rights to a fair trial and were flawed accordingly.”

One father involved was Kambiz Karoonian, 44 years, from Ormskirk.

In February 2011, magistrates handed Karoonian a suspended jail sentence. He was told to make monthly payments of £1,000 or be imprisoned.

Karoonian, a father of five, has insisted he owes nothing and added that he regularly sees his three daughters from previous relationships, as well as his two sons from his current relationship.

Lord Justice Ward summed up that the letters Karoonian received incorrectly implied he and another parent in a related case had to prove they owed no child maintenance.

The fact that the CMEC had no evidence and had not followed the law relating to both fathers’ income meant that all three judges agreed the fathers had not received a fair hearing.

Richard Gordon QC, barrister for Karoonian, said a number of absent mothers and fathers were being treated in the same way, and having flawed cases brought against them, where their arrears were worked out incorrectly.

The court hearing the Karoonian case was told that the quantity of actual jail terms for parents who didn’t pay rose 800 per cent from 2005 to 2011. Suspended jail term numbers in this period also increased by 449 per cent.

Department for Work and Pensions figures showed that, last year, 30 parents were sent to prison.

Shortly after the judgement was made, a spokesman announced:

“It is extremely disappointing that parents who have flouted their legal responsibility to financially support their children have invoked the Human Rights Act to seek to continue to do so.

“Regrettably, we need every enforcement measure at our disposal to ensure the minority of irresponsible parents pay for their children.

“It is important to stress that this judgement does not question the legality of bringing parents who repeatedly refuse to pay for their children to the attention of magistrates, who can then decide whether to send them to prison. We will of course consider any other implications of this judgement carefully and take the appropriate action.”

Earlier this year, the Department for Work and Pensions took over from the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. The CMEC, in turn, succeeded the Child Support Agency, a setup which faced notoriety from persistent computer problems and its failure to work out correctly the maintenance payments that should be taken from absentee parents.

Comments

26 Responses to “Court ruling leaves child maintenance authority ’emasculated’”

  1. Darren Jamieson on November 1st, 2012 6:23 pm
  2. rach on November 1st, 2012 11:44 pm

    its about time that this obnoxious agency is bought to the book! let the floodgates open !!! 🙂 . they break lots of human rights laws and this is just the beginning!!

  3. Sally on November 2nd, 2012 8:50 am

    This is great news!! as you say rach…. this is just the beginning…. 🙂

  4. martin on November 2nd, 2012 11:36 pm

    now they have lost this people will start getting a fair hearing there regin of terror has start to come to the end

    and now there is proof they were not protecting our human rights

    here we come csa wankers

  5. Carol on November 3rd, 2012 10:13 am

    I read about this the other day and thought at long last someone is listening. CSA breach nrp human rights every step of the way. I think this is brilliant news.

    Maybe instead of the Agency using such vile measures as imprisonment they should think about having an Agency that works.

  6. dai pugh on November 3rd, 2012 11:14 am

    read the judgement

    it seems that in this case the CSA never sent a bailiff or made athird party debt order, otherwise it looks like they could have lawfully proceeded.

    as usual the headlines say different to the facts.

    something is going on/someone has an agenda ie could be a useful excuse not to pursue arrears and fob off Mothers saving costs and getting them to agree under the coming new rules. Or it could be to change the law to make it easier to get arrears off NRP’s ie dads, after all LJ Ward didn’t see any problems with the CSA disobeying court orders [ie the law] in Davies v CSA 2008, now he does in this case?

    http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed26096
    R (on the application of Davies) v Child Support Agency [2008] EWCA Civ 1031

  7. John on November 6th, 2012 2:03 pm

    I hope that this is ‘the beginning of the end’, for this ‘not fit for purpose’ shambles!

    The way that i read the ruling is that, those accused of failing to pay in this case, have a legal right to be judged by a a court and a jury of their peers, i.e. common law, where a custodial sentence may be imposed upon them, they have a right to defend themselves ‘in law’. This was being denied them, via CSA ‘kangaroo’ courts!

    I hope that the ECHR get involved and force the UK government to compensate those who have been denied a fair trial, where NRP’s have been persecuted and criminalised, and not been given their legal rights to defend themselves.

    I can see a ‘root and branch’ reform, enabling NRP’s to challenge any illegal rulings, and enabling NRP’s to seek compensation.

    I hope this is the first of many rulings against the CSA and the government!

  8. j on November 6th, 2012 7:41 pm

    “rach on November 1st, 2012 11:44 pm

    its about time that this obnoxious agency is bought to the book! let the floodgates open !!! . they break lots of human rights laws and this is just the beginning!!”

    “Sally on November 2nd, 2012 8:50 am

    This is great news!! as you say rach…. this is just the beginning”

    I’m so glad to see this post, some of you may have read my other posts, like so many on here I’ve said from the outset that the csa is in breach of human rights legislation – access to a fair trial, quiet enjoyment of family life etc

    Its a disgusting organisation that does little to help children and more to help fill the government coffers.

    Every single person on here should make applications to echr and flood the system with complaints until this horrid organisation is shut down. The csa should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

  9. Chris C on November 6th, 2012 8:47 pm

    Now it just needs a high flying legal person to rip their balls off and stuff them down their throats and bring the CSA/Government to book. They should have to rectify everything they have done wrong and fully compensate. Recently we hear in the news about witch hunts for child molesters etc and deservedly so but we never hear of witch hunts for the CSA on the news who in an obviously much different way, and I don’t intend making similarities with child abuse and CSA abuse per se, cause harm and lifelong damage by the bucketful. 20 years of human rights breaches and no respect just to get the evil money from one to give to another. Since when has money solved anything?

    Maybe this is the turning point and the beginning of the end for the CSA and possibly the start of the witch hunts we need going back to the idiot Secretary of State and MP’s that brought the draconian legislation into being in the first place.

    Bring it on!!!

  10. John on November 7th, 2012 11:02 am

    The sad thing is, that the majority of people who have voiced their opinions WANT to provide for their children. However, corrupt politicians and civil servants have sought to demonise NRP’s, and attempt to criminalise them as pariahs of society.

    It is those very same people who are the pariahs, for their incompetent, ignorant, interferring, bullying antics!

  11. Carol on November 7th, 2012 5:43 pm

    One thing – why is this not making headline news? I am sure nrp and pwc should all know the way this Agency are abusing their powers.

  12. John on November 13th, 2012 8:41 am

    The reason that this landmark ruling hasn’t hit the headlines, is because of a thing called ‘common purpose’.

    Basically the government and media have signed a ‘pact’, not to report ‘bad news’ about certain government issues. They are in bed together, scratching each others backs!

    It’s to ‘make nrp’s’ have it, because they are to be demonised, and criminalised, in the eyes of politicians and the judiciary!

    The real ‘low life’ scum, are the politicians and the judiciary!

  13. stuart on November 13th, 2012 12:10 pm

    in the near future this will be admitted as the biggest cover up in British history on a par with Hillsboro etc and hopefully jail sentences and compensation payouts will be a plenty.

  14. N Williams on November 23rd, 2012 6:18 pm

    It is interesting to note that CMEC has adjourned all comittal proceedings until at least Feb 2013 in the light of this judgement yet another un-reported fact.HEADS SHOULD ROLL BUT WILL NOT

  15. j on November 23rd, 2012 10:00 pm

    “N Williams on November 23rd, 2012 6:18 pm

    It is interesting to note that CMEC has adjourned all comittal proceedings until at least Feb 2013 in the light of this judgement yet another un-reported fact.HEADS SHOULD ROLL BUT WILL NOT”

    It is my view that the csa (now cmec) is an illegal ‘ponzi’ scheme set up by the civil service/politicians to create non jobs in the DWP and collect ‘stealth’ tax for the government. The facts are all there but its been such a scam for so long they think they have got away with it. Solicitors probably have enough info to bring the whole ting crashing down but they are making money out of it too, bit like asking the turkey to vote for xmas. Meanwhile people have committed suicide, families have been destroyed and children have suffered. I wonder what cameron meant by “all in it together”?

  16. carol on December 6th, 2012 9:29 pm

    “It is extremely disappointing that parents who have flouted their legal responsibility to financially support their children have invoked the Human Rights Act to seek to continue to do so”

    …Yes I bet it is. But legal never did stand up to lawful.

    It is also disappointing to be held in such contempt by a hypocritical government agency. Governments are here to serve the people, protect them, defend their human rights, yet all that happens is disgusting treatment against human beings, whilst true perpetrators are left to run amok. Social Services, CSA, DWP, HMRC, Ministry of (cough) Justice…all of it across the board…Id like to see it all gone. The nazi’s didnt lose the war, they just changed uniforms.

    They dont want us having any rights, none of us. Not even the children they profess to care for…theyre just the manipulation.

    Peace x

  17. sew on December 10th, 2012 3:01 pm

    every body should put an appeal in if its rejected then go to a human rights lawer the paper work is always wrong the summons is defective no court seal no crest just corrupt

  18. John on December 19th, 2012 4:34 pm

    In view of the fact that CSA authority is deemed to be emasculated, and with the news that the Hillsborough victims have had their initial inquest verdicts quashed, because of corruption and collusion, would now be the time to seek justcice for the victims of the CSA, some of whom have taken their lives, as a direct result of CSA corruption and collusion, in denying them their Legal and Human rights, and openly oppressing and criminalising them on what are family matters, and nothing to do with incompetent civil servants or interferring politicians!

  19. stuart on December 19th, 2012 7:24 pm

    Following my complaint the CSA have replied that the Secretary of State for the DWP has stated they do not breach any human rights!!!! mind you that statement was made in1999, This has now been proved in court to be a false statement, I have responded again mentioning this case. The Fight goes on.

  20. phil on January 6th, 2013 8:40 pm

    the law has always been on the side of the just!….i have been chased thro court by theses muppets over some 10yrs, and i’ve always paid for my child, know the law and stay the right side of it and your bullet proof! i cant wait till i’m back in court with these tossers………and cant wait to sue them shortly! 🙂 know your rights and the law people! legal is not always lawful!

  21. phil on January 6th, 2013 8:57 pm

    sorry to bang on! 🙂 YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET LEGAL REP IN THE EARLY STAGES! you have to do it yourself, it takes confidence and balls. once you understand what is going on then you can take it from there……providing you have not broken common law….you’ve won. head over to dead beat dads dot com, or free man on the land, google it, you’ll be enhanced…..that is all….1 day you’ll thimk back and say……he was right.

  22. j on January 10th, 2013 10:20 pm

    “carol on December 6th, 2012 9:29 pm

    “It is extremely disappointing that parents who have flouted their legal responsibility to financially support their children have invoked the Human Rights Act to seek to continue to do so”

    …Yes I bet it is. But legal never did stand up to lawful. ”

    Good point Carol. Most ‘decent’ parents (mums & dads) are happy to share the cost of bringing up their children. The problem is with those who dont seem to care and try and avoid the costs of kids growing up.
    Point is the csa tend to go for the easy targets, the decent mums and dads who do care. Its the amounts they take and the way they behave that gets people annoyed.
    We should all write to the barrister who handled the Karoonian case (csa emasculated) and take the csa and government to the echr.
    Its about time we all fought back against this disgusting organisation for the sake of all our children.

  23. clive sutherland on January 30th, 2013 7:48 pm

    The fact is, this and previous dimwit politician cannot see the damage the CSA has done and is still doing to this country, apart from filling grave yards and filling prisons, they have increase the multitude of people on benefits to the point now the country cannot afford to pay the huge bills, hence they have to print more and more money !!borrow!!. We will never get out of recession while this huge outlawed cowboys bullying agency is operating, the whole country suffers, they will continue to drive people out of work on to benefits or prison. Bullying is the worst form of abuse to children and adults yet the CSA get away with it from day one of opening. This country need the men they are slaughtering to be of sound mind, to work, pay their tax, take home all the rest of their wages to spend on their children how they see fit. Give them a sence of achievement. Give them the right to see their child. Any politician with sence would get rid of the CSA not rename it, give amnesty and compensation to all their victims, give them the freedom to work to provide for their family.

  24. craig brown on February 2nd, 2013 9:45 pm

    wot world is the csa living in .iam going down the csa hell road for the last two years. ever since the csa got involvd my ex as stoped me seeing my son
    how is that wots best for my son and it looks like i will be going down the court road i have 3 more sons that live with me and the csa want to rob peter to pay paul
    and my ex is using the csa as a tool to take everything our family as worked so hard for.. i pay for my son but the csa want more my son as a loving home waiting for he and is brother miss him the csa dont care about my son or any of my sons the muppit csa worker from norwich told me not to pay my rent on my house where my family live .because i need to pay my arrears .and tryd bullying me ringing me 5 times aday . i put the phone down and told them i wanted everything in writing

  25. dai on February 15th, 2013 3:41 pm

    J

    the reason matters are delayed until Feb 2013 is because after the recent changes the CSA are now allowed to get NRP income tax details and so can proceed in accordance with Richards judgement – they get you to court – produce the tax return as evidence of ability to pay and then NRP have to prove why he didn’t pay – so off to jail with him.

    so why didn’t MP’s allow such laws to be passed to apply to them when there is an expenses query?

  26. Sally on February 15th, 2013 4:52 pm

    now now dai… you shouldn’t think like that…. our MP’s are there for our benefit, we should think ourselves lucky to have them, I mean, they have, afterall, made such a significant improvement to our lives… surely we shouldn’t grudge them a few million pounds of fraudulent claims!!! (i’m being sarcastic of course)….

    if they can’t skin us one with, they will do it another…. the CSA remind me of ‘the Capitol’ from the Hunger Games…. same principles….

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