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Family Law

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24 JAN 2006

Child Maintenance: a Fundamental Right?

David Burrows, Solicitor. 'Before the CSA was invented I could have sued him for maintenance. Now they've taken all my rights away'. These are the words of Sally Henson (name changed) as the consequences of R (Kehoe) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2004] EWCA Civ 225, [2004] 1 FLR 1132 (then in the Court of Appeal) were explained to her. The words of Sally Henson, the predicament of her 10-year-old daughter - for whom she has received no more than a few pounds - and the absurdity (to quote Johnson J slightly out of context from Phillips v Peace [1996] 2 FLR 230) of the euphemistically named child support scheme, puts Kehoe in its true and tawdry perspective. It was only the family lawyers Wall J (as he then was) at first instance, Ward LJ in the Court of Appeal and Baroness Hale of Richmond, clearly and succinctly, in the House of Lords who recognised the child's rights in all this. The article looks at the majority decision in Kehoe in the House of Lords, as well as the dissenting judgment of Baroness Hale of Richmond. See February [2006] Fam Law 134 for the full article.

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