The High Court (Calver J) has handed down judgment in R (Ingold) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWHC 3207 (Admin), concerning a challenge to the lawfulness of the functioning of the Child Maintenance Service.
The Child Maintenance Service is operated by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and calculates, collects and enforces child maintenance payments. The Claimants were owed money in unpaid child maintenance. They alleged that the CMS had failed to take effective steps to recover that maintenance, and that this amounted to facilitating economic abuse. They brought challenges based on Article 8, Article 1 Protocol 1 and Article 14 of the ECHR, and Padfield.
Calver J rejected all of the Claimants’ grounds of challenge. While the state may be under a positive duty to take reasonable steps in a particular case to ensure effective protection from economic abuse, that duty was not breached by the CMS’s guidance documents, and nor was there any general unlawful failure to collect and enforce maintenance.
The judgment can be accessed here.