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How to appeal against a Child Maintenance Decision - We can help you prepare

CMS Tribunal Preparation and Tribunal Representation

"Anyone involved with the Child Maintenance Service who finds themself in front of an appeal panel is a fool if they do not have legal representation." Michael Smith LLB, Senior Partner, Durham Legal Services.

The quote may sound harsh but please be clear, once a Tribunal has made a decision on your case, that decision will follow wherever your case goes so it needs to be right from the beginning.  When the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service makes a decision on a child maintenance claim and either parent feels the decision is incorrect their only real option is to take the matter to appeal. An appeal is a process administered by HMCTS and, in most cases, ends with an oral hearing in front of a Judge sitting alone or with a financial expert. If it looks likely your case is going to get to this stage, we strongly recommend you consider one of our services to help you with your appeal preparation.

Preparation is very important because if the Tribunal does not have the correct evidence, it can’t determine the case and may seek an adjournment which drags the time out. However, if evidence is continually not supplied and someone is deemed deliberately not to be helping the Tribunal, it may just draw adverse inference and will make a judgement based on what it can see and what opinion it forms. Being properly prepared with help from people experienced in attending and representing at Tribunals can save time and money. Avoiding being assessed through adverse inference can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your appeal.

Durham Legal Services offers the following CMS appeal services:-

At Durham Legal Services, we have attended hundreds of appeals making us the leading company in the country specialising in child maintenance tribunals. Our team of lawyers have been instrumental is shaping child maintenance legislation over the years from a legal definition of a Parent with Care to more recent jurisdiction about shared care and day to day care.

Our team travel all over the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland. We offer a fixed fee which will allow you to identify the financial benefit of having professional representation. If you are considering appeals representation or would like to find out the benefit of having us represent you, please contact us and a member of the team will be glad to assist you.

CMS Appeal Tribunal Preparation

We can make your appeal application for you or, if it is already underway, we contact HMCTS and obtain a full set of appeal papers.  Once we have the papers, time permitting, we can arrange a full face to face appointment or a long telephone appointment to go over the grounds, period and evidence with you.  If necessary, we submit case management directions.

CMS Appeal Tribunal Representation

 If you instruct us to represent you, we can make your appeal application for you or, if it is already underway, we contact HMCTS and obtain a full set of appeal papers.  Once we have the papers, time permitting, we can arrange a full face to face appointment or a long telephone appointment to go over the grounds, period and evidence with you.  If necessary, we submit case management directions.Additionally, you will be represented in person on the day by a member of our legal team.

 What to expect at a Tribunal hearing

Tribunal judges have one role only and that is to interpret child support legislation to achieve the overriding objective of finding the highest child maintenance payment available. The very nature of a Tribunal is inquisitive and any paying parent should expect to get a grilling at the hearing. They will be asked lots of questions about their employment and how it is set up and they will be expected to know the answers. This is why you need to be properly prepared with the correct evidence and representation to present that evidence. If you are hesitant or unsure, the Tribunal will you as being unreliable and that is the most common reason why Tribunals draw their own negative conclusion that income is being hidden.

Where people go wrong

Believing you are operating within HMRC rules or Company Act rules and that you are therefore safe is a fools errand, because a child maintenance Tribunal can go behind other legislation with a view to finding income for the purposes of child maintenance. Our team can guide you through the relationship between business legislation and child maintenance legislation. We take you through the whole Tribunal procedure and prepare you for the questions you will be asked and can help to make sure the Tribunal gets the right facts and makes a decision based upon them.

Terms and Conditions Surrounding our Advice Line and Formal Instruction.

Following our advice calls, we are sometimes instructed by one party to assist further with their case. When instruction is requested, Durham Legal Services will issue a new client pack (NCP). Regrettably, we have increasingly experienced this service being abused by some individuals who have asked for representation but who have had no intention of returning the paperwork or committing to the service. The reason is they believe that by doing so, they stop us from acting on behalf of the other party.

We therefore wish to make it quite clear that an advice appointment is not instruction. All NCPs issued are valid for 5 working days only. After this period, if the paperwork has not been signed and returned to us and the fee payment made, we reserve the right to cancel any instruction from that party and to take instruction from any other party connected with the case. If, later, we are instructed by the other party and issue a second NCP that, again, is only valid for 5 days.

Further, as our ethos is to work in the best interests of the child, we state quite clearly there is no conflict of interest in this policy.


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Child Maintenance Service Advice

CSA Testimonials

Without doubt I have the most awkward ex partner any man could ever have, you name it I have been accused of doing it. I meet a new partner and things went from bad to worse with my ex taking me to 3 different appeals.

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We are confident not only about the advice we offer but the standard of that advice. Durham Legal Services has represented people with child support problems for the last twenty years. We know we can help you if you have a real CSA problem.

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