The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) and International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc) (Amendment) Order 2015 was published on 6 July 2015.
This Order makes amendments to the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) Regulations 2011 (“the 2011 Regulations”) and to the International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc) Regulations 2012 (“the 2012 Regulations”). The amendments are made to ensure continuing implementation of obligations under Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 (“the Maintenance Regulation”) and the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23rd November 2007 (“the 2007 Hague Convention”) following administrative and legislative changes relating to the courts of England and Wales.
The 2011 Regulations made provision to facilitate the application of the Maintenance Regulation in the United Kingdom. Schedule 1 to the 2011 Regulations included provision for the enforcement of maintenance decisions made in Member States of the European Union in each part of the United Kingdom in a manner equivalent to the enforcement of maintenance orders made in domestic courts. Paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the 2011 Regulations set out the procedure to be followed for the establishment and modification of maintenance under the Maintenance Regulation.
Article 3 of this Order amends paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the 2011 Regulations. Amendments are made to the procedure in England and Wales in consequence of administrative changes made by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. These changes mean that the administration of maintenance enforcement work in England and Wales is to be undertaken in specific locations of the family court, to be known as Maintenance Enforcement Business Centres, rather than in individual local offices of the family court.
Prior to the amendments made by this Order, the 2011 Regulations required action to be taken to move documents in a case from one Designated Family Judge area of the family court to another, depending on where the respondent resided. The amendments made by this Order mean that such steps will need to be taken if the respondent does not reside in the area of England and Wales covered by the Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre to which the application has been sent.
Paragraph 11(10) of Schedule 1 to the 2011 Regulations applied sub-paragraphs (2) to (9) of paragraph 11 to applications submitted under Article 56 of the Maintenance Regulation in Northern Ireland. This Order amends paragraph 11(10) of Schedule 1 to the 2011 Regulations to make sure that the procedure in Northern Ireland is not altered despite the amendments this Order makes to procedures in England and Wales.
The 2012 Regulations made provision to facilitate the application of the 2007 Hague Convention in England and Wales.
Schedule 1 to the 2012 Regulations made provision for the enforcement of maintenance obligations and maintenance arrangements made in Contracting States to the 2007 Hague Convention by the courts of England and Wales.
Article 4 of this Order amends paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 to the 2012 Regulations in light of the administration of maintenance enforcement cases in Maintenance Enforcement Business Centres.
Schedule 2 to the 2012 Regulations enabled courts to which an application is made to enforce a maintenance decision under certain international instruments to do so by way of a driving disqualification order. Such applications could be made by a “creditor”.
Paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the 2012 Regulations defined “the creditor” to include a designated officer of a magistrates’ court, where it has been ordered that a sum or sums of maintenance be paid to such an officer. Following the coming into force of section 17 of, and Schedules 10 and 11 to, the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (c. 22) on 22nd April 2014, payments of maintenance could no longer be ordered to be paid to a designated officer of a magistrates’ court, but could be ordered to be paid to the family court. Article 5 of this Order amends the definition of “the creditor” in paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the 2012 Regulations to bring within that term an officer of the family court where payment of maintenance must be made to the family court.
No impact assessment has been produced for this instrument because no, or minimal, impact is anticipated to result from its provisions.
The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) and International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc) (Amendment) Order 2015 is available to download here.