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Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and Child Support Agency (CSA) Appeal

If you have a Tribunal about to be heard and you have not had legal advice, you could be in danger of not getting the right outcome. We can even help you with fees. Call us now on 01207 693966.

CSA Tribunal and Tribunal Representation

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 by getting it right first time. Avoiding being assessed through adverse inference can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your appeal.

Durham Legal Services offer the following appeal preparation services:-

Full review of appeal papers

You supply us with a full set of the appeal papers, (the Secretary of State submission) We then carry out a full review of grounds of appeal, the period of the appeal and review the evidence to identify its relevance and, where necessary, provide you suggested case management directions to either request additional evidence or seek the Tribunal’s assistance to clarify the evidence it has requested.  We then provide you with a full written report and arrange a telephone advice appointment to go over the report in full.

Full appeals representation

If you then decide toinstruct us to represent you, we contact HMCTS and obtain a full set of appeal papers.  Once we have the papers, time permitting, we will arrange a full face to face appeal hearing where we go over the grounds, period and evidence with you.  If necessary, we submit case management directions. This way we can reduce the risk of an adjournment and further costs and also ensure we are ready to resolve the appeal on the first hearing.  As part of this service, you will be represented in person on the day by a member of our legal team, regardless of the location.

Glossary of Terms

In order to demonstrate why you need legal advice to stand a chance of being successful at appeal we have included a glossary of terms:

Grounds of Appeal - The reasons why the original decision was wrong.
 It is important to identify all the correct grounds, along with whether the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. For instance, the Tribunal cannot deal with arrears at all.

Appeal Period - The effective date to the date of the decision.
The tribunal can only look at the period beginning with the effective date and ending with the date of the decision.  Many parents struggle with this concept and lose their appeal because they’re relying on circumstances that cannot be taken into account

Appeal Papers Review - This is the full file of evidence you should receive from HMCTS.
Evidence is key to resolving your child support appeal. All parties to the appeal are allowed to submit evidence to either prove or disprove the  appeal.  A real word of warning:  unless you identify and understand the grounds and legislation along with the appeal period, you will be in real danger of losing your appeal. That is why we recommend, as a bare minimum, the use of our appeal papers review service.

Case Management Directions - A written request to the Tribunal to either obtain additional evidence or clarification of existing evidence.

As previously explained, evidence is key to a successful outcome.  In many instances, the Tribunal itself will review the papers prior to the hearing and issue case management directions but this option is not limited to the Judge only.   Any party to the appeal can send a case management direction request to the Tribunal for its consideration.  This is the only opportunity prior to the hearing to request evidence from either the other side or clarification on some other issue from the Tribunal.  Again, on this issue, we would strongly recommend one of our services as a good case management request can assist you in reaching a good outcome to your appeal.

Having tribunal representation at your child maintenance appeal means your chances of getting the outcome you are trying to achieve are a great deal better. Don't underestimate how difficult tribunals now are - they are a legal hearing in front of a Judge and sometimes a financial expert.  Both are there to find facts about the case and this will always involve an inquisitorial approach. You should also be aware they are not there to offer either side advice or assistance.   We feel the best way to explain the importance of professional representation is to read some of our clients’ experiences.

David Carlton   “ I attended my first tribunal in 2012 and was made to feel like I was a criminal.  The judge was very abrupt and accountant person ripped right into me. He asked questions that I could not answer about my account, things I pay an accountant to take care of. When I left the room I felt sick and devastated.  When I had my second hearing I had representation this time by Mike Smith from Durham Legal Services.   The difference was like night and day even thought it was the same Judge this time he listened to what I had to say, he suggested to my ex-partner that we such sort out a private agreement, which we did”.

Although child maintenance tribunals are very inquisitorial in their approach, you must remember the Judge is independent of the parties.  Not only are they not able to give advice on the case they are only able to consider the evidence in front of them.  This means if you don’t raise a particular issue either in your letter of appeal or where possible actually during the hearing, the legislation that governs appeals prevents you from relying upon it if you disagree with the final decision

Tracy McGill   “ I am a Company Director and at my appeal my ex asked for my dividends to be included and I did not have a problem with that at all.  However, when I received my Decision notice the next day, the Judge had also included income from my shareholders fund although this is money that I keep in the company for a rainy day.  I appealed the decision and was told because I did not mention why I needed to keep this level of shareholders’ fund, the Appeal would not be allowed and the fund would be considered.  Thankfully, through Durham Legal Services I managed to get the decision set aside for another reason and at the re-hearing the issue of a rainy day fund was mentioned and accepted by the tribunal.  I had no idea it would be so strict but it’s a minefield if you don’t have professional help”.

Legal representatives from Durham Legal Service 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 the legal definition of a Parent with Care to more recent jurisdiction to make a claim. Our team travels all over the UK, including Northern Ireland, at no additional cost.  We offer a fixed fee which will allow you to identify the financial benefit of having professional representation.

John Craig   “ I knew I needed someone to represent me because I have a very difficult ex who appeals absolutely everything just to make my life difficult. Having spoken to most solicitors in my town they were either not interested in child support cases or were simply too expensive and I wasn’t convinced they could deal it anyway.  When I spoke to Durham Legal Services the first thing they told me was it needs to be cost effective and have added value. I liked that approach and went ahead and instructed them.  I have been a DLS client now for two years and they manage all my CSA stuff and have attended 3 appeal hearings for me. I would certainly recommend then to any one with the exception of my ex”.

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.

Legal Fees Guarantee - we won't be beaten on price!

Here at Durham Legal Services, we are committed to offering you the best value CSA legal representation available in the UK and we strive to provide you an unbeatable fixed fee.  We are so confident that we promise to beat any advertised price from any practising solicitor or barrister in the UK by 10% of their fee.

At Durham Legal Services, we never want our clients to have to decide between what we feel is the best CSA legal representation and a lower price. We want you to have both the best representation and the best prices!

Terms and Conditions Surrounding our Advice Line and Formal Instruction.

Durham Legal Services UK Limited is the UK’s leading experts in the Child Support Act 1991 and associated legislation and, as such, we are contacted on many occasions by both of the parents connected with the same case looking for advice via our advice line. 

Our ethos is to ensure that the overriding objective of the Child Support Act 1991 is achieved, i.e. the best interests of all children connected to the case are served.  When contact by both parents has made with us, and because of our ethos, we will not bar either parent from receiving the correct advice. Further, where possible, we will mediate in an attempt to resolve both parents’ issues.

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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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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Why DLS?

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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