New court case offers hope to thousands failed by Child Support Agency

08 May 2007

Single parent Denise Rowley will today ask the Appeal Court to rule on whether she can bring a case that the Child Support Agency (CSA) was negligent in its handling of her claim for child maintenance. This is the first time that the Court of Appeal has been asked to rule on whether the CSA owes a duty of care to the parents and children on whose behalf it collects maintenance. Thousands of families could be impacted by the decision.

The issues raised by this case are of such significance that Resolution will, for the first time in its 24 year history, formally intervene in the Court case.

Kim Fellowes, Chair of Resolution’s Child Support Committee said: “We hope that our intervention today will help clarify the circumstances in which families failed by the CSA can obtain compensation through the courts.

“The numbers failed by the CSA runs into thousands. These are ordinary families who have lost out on money owed to them. These families placed their trust and faith in the CSA and they should not be expected to simply put up with the fact that they have lost out financially because of the Agency’s mistakes.”

The case is being heard at a time when publication of the Government's bill for a new Child Support Agency is due within the next few weeks.

“The Government has refused to listen when issues like compensation for mistakes have been raised with them over the years. Indeed, with their proposed reforms, they risk creating a new system which is even more unfair and ineffective than the current discredited CSA,” said Ms Fellowes.

Kim Fellowes hopes that this case will finally confirm Resolution’s belief that: "A State which effectively prevents a parent from claiming child support through the ordinary Court system has a positive obligation to provide an effective alternative system. It should be clear that the CSA owes a legal duty to parents and children to do its job properly. Where it fails it must provide recompense.

“Maintenance is paid for the benefit of children and we cannot be in the position where the CSA are in a position to simply abrogate its responsibilities,” she said.

Notes to editors
In its intervention, Resolution is seeking to ensure that the Court is aware of the wide-ranging issues related to the Child Support Agency. It is not seeking to persuade the Court on the facts of Denise Rowley’s particular case.

Further information and interviews can be arranged through:
Teresa Richardson
Head of Communications
020 7357 9215
Mob: 07894 981 020

Kim Fellowes
Chair of Child Support Committee
Dickinson Dees LLP - 0191 279 9287
Mobile - 07980715529