CSA Judgment

21 JUN 2007

The Court of Appeal stated on 19 June that the Child Support Agency (CSA) does not owe a duty of care to the children and parents on whose behalf it collects maintenance. Resolution had intervened in the case in an effort to clarify how families failed by the CSA can obtain compensation. Single parent Denise Rowley was seeking a ruling on whether the CSA was negligent in its handling of her claim for child maintenance. This was the first time that Resolution has formally intervened in a case in its 24-year history. In its judgment the Court of Appeal stated that 'the existence of the right of appeal given by s 20 and the right to receive interest on arrears in prescribed circumstances given by s 41, when taken in conjunction with the right to seek judicial review of failures to collect or enforce arrears of maintenance, means that the 1991 Act provides the person with care with substantial protection against incompetence on the part of the CSA. The fact that there may be cases where incompetence on the part of the CSA causes loss which cannot be recovered under the statutory scheme is not a sufficient reason to impose a duty of care'. For further information on Resolution's proposals to Government on the proposed replacement agency C-MEC, see August [2007] Fam Law.

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