PATERNITY/ CHILD SUPPORT: Law v Inostroza Ahumada

26 OCT 2010

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Stanley Burnton and Tomlinson LJJ; 6 October 2010)

CMEC sought to enforce child support arrears of £30,000. It obtained an enforcement order but when the arrears were still not paid, it obtained a charging order over the non-payer's property.  The non-payer did not appeal the assessment, the liability order or the charging order. A second set of enforcement proceedings were brought in respect of a subsequent period for about £13,000. The non-payer appealed, claiming he was not father. The child refused to take a DNA test, and the court found that the non-payer was the father, in absence of contradictory evidence. The non-payer neither appealed nor paid the child support and a liability order was made which he appealed. The order was set aside on a technicality and remitted to the justices and the amount was subsequently reduced. The non-payer commenced proceedings seeking a declaration that he was not the father, within s 55A of Family Law Act 1986. CMEC was joined as intervenor and gave an undertaking that it would not enforce the liability order save as to obtaining a second charging order. CMEC sought to strike the non-payer's petition out on the basis that there was no new evidence. The judge adjourned the matter, ordering a stay of enforcement until the next hearing. CMEC challenged the  judge's jurisdiction to make an order relating to separate enforcement proceedings.

Appeal allowed, the judge had no jurisdiction to control proceedings brought under a different statutory regime.

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