CSA/CMS often make decisions that are disputed, and may require an application to appeal. CSA/CMS appeals are administered by the HM Courts and Tribunal which form part of the Ministry of Justice and are independant from CSA/CMS. The case is heard by a Tribunal Judge and in some circumstances a Financially Qualified Panel Member. It is vital that you seek held and advice about child support law during the Tribunal process. There are strict time frames in which to comply and a degree of information may have to be submitted prior to any hearing.
Note: The process to appeal against a CSA decision changed with effect from 28.10.13. If you are appealing a decision that is dated after 28.10.13 please click here Mandatory Reconsideration
One of the most common questions we are asked is how to appeal against a child support debt.
There are no appeal rights against debt!
Appeal rights are given to specific ‘Decisions‘ made by the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service. Letters regarding child support arrears, and the enforcement of such debt is information only – not a decision that carries a right of appeal.
It is important that you check any ‘Decision’ made by CSA/CMS as soon as you receive it. This may be either;
- A Maintenance Assessment/Calculation
- A Refusal to revise or Supersede an existing Assessment/Calculation.
- A Variation or Departure Decision
- A Refusal to complete a Variation or Departure Decision.
- There are appeal rights against Paternity, but disputed paternity claims are dealt with by a Magistrate Court and not a Tribunal.
- There are limited appeal rights against a Deduction from Earnings Order, but these are also dealt with by a Magistrate Court.
If you receive a ‘Decision’ and you believe the information used is incorrect you must contact the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service, in writing within One Month to request the Mandatory Reconsideration. The request is considered and an official Mandatory Reconsideration Notice will be issued. It is this document that provides the right of appeal to HMCTs. There are aspects of a dispute that will not be considered under the Mandatory Reconsideration process. You are encouraged to seek guidance on whether you have the right of appeal specific to your circumstances.
You cannot appeal on the basis that you cannot afford to pay the maintenance assessed.
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