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Human Rights and the Child Support Agency

It seems to me that there are several issues under which the CSA are undermining basic human rights and I wish to publicise these here for discussion.

Fifty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a bulwark against oppression and discrimination. These are some of the rights presently undermined by CSA / CMEC activity.

Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

When the CSA make an 'attachment to earnings' which is entirely misconceived, it can result in a condition of slavery, in which the recipient, although working in paid employment, is allowed no benefit from his earnings. Here is a case in point, taken from my own experience:

My income for 2000 - 2001



CSA bill

































The CSA took my first 3 months earnings as normal and averaged them across the salary, resulting in a very high liability. The figures break down as follows:

Total Income 8348

Tax & NI @ 2,000 = 6,348

Travel to work 30 weeks @ £25 week = £750 5598

Rent @ £50 week for 30 weeks = 1500 4098

Council Tax @ 600 3498

CSA assessment @ 2,460 1038

Note: With allowances eg tax, NI, travel to work, rent and council tax leaving £3498, an assessment of £2460 by the CSA is a full 70% of my remaining income after allowable expenses, not 15% as is legally required.

This income allowed me £34.60 a week to cover travel to and contact with my child, food, heat, clothing and all the necessities of life, which is well below what the government itself recognise as the basics needed for survival.

The actions of the CSA put me into a condition of slavery, that of working without any personal gain, a person in bondage. My only recourse was to resign my position at work. Of course the CSA claim they have no responsibility in this, as it was purely a matter of my 'choice'. Being on the dole left me with £45.15 a week, and time to spend with my child when I could afford to travel to him (no public transport - moved away by his mother).

Therefore the CSA are in breach of Article 4 and Article 25 (1) of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article

6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Liability Orders are being used by the Child Support Agency / CMEC to recover child maintenance arrears although they are often for the wrong amount. The Liability Order has to be granted by the Magistrates' Court and many people mistakenly believe this is an opportunity for them to take their complete file along and get the Magistrate to review the Child Support Agency's decisions because they are in dispute about the amount of child support arrears being claimed. It isn't and usually the Liability Order will be granted if you are there or not.

In effect, the amount of money the CSA claim that you owe is not contestable if you miss an appeal opportunity very early in the proceedings. Personally my appeal notification arrived on 15th December, when I was away for 3 weeks, with a 2 week deadline for response. As a result I have never been allowed to appeal my case.

Once the CSA have arrived at a figure, challenging the amount of money charged on a liability order is impossible. They frequently assess the sum wrongly, given any opportunity they will do this since they have 'targets' to meet. Liability Orders seem likely to change in name and to be known as "Administrative Liability Orders". They can be put in place by the Child Support Agency / CMEC itself with no need to go to Magistrates Court. As such, a person has no recourse to law and the CSA are in breach of Article 6, 7 and 8 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

CMEC is able to - without your appeal:

  • ·Appoint Bailiffs
  • ·Sell your house
  • ·Take away your driving licence for up to two years
  • ·Send you to prison
  • Attach a Deduction of Earnings Order (DEO) to your wages or salary through your employer
  • Attach a DEO to your bank account, designed to catch up with those self-employed amongst you
  • Attach a DEO to a joint account
  • Put a curfew order of up to 12 hours a day in place and make you pay the costs of monitoring that you keep to the order.

If you don't keep to the curfew, you can be sent to prison. A curfew order comes with powers to search you and remove any money you might be carrying to go towards the child maintenance arrears. Even without curfew, you can be searched and have removed any money you may be carrying so, for instance, you might be on your way out of the country and you can be stopped at the airport and have your cash removed to be allocated towards paying off your child maintenance arrears. All of that assumes, of course, that you still have your passport, but it is in the Child Support Agency's power to remove that for up to two years as well.

To recover child maintenance arrears, the Child Support Agency can also attach a lump sum deduction order to savings accounts or even with someone like your conveyancing solicitor so that any proceeds from something like the sale of your house can be drawn upon to pay the debt.

Finally, don't think that dying will make the arrears go away because your child support arrears can be recovered from your estate. Bankruptcy doesn't work either as legislation prevents the arrears from being written off with the rest of the debts. You should also bear in mind that unless the money has been paid, the above penalties aren't instead of paying, they are as well as - these do not make the debt go away.

As such the CSA CMEC are in breach of Article 12 Article 13 (2) and Article 30 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

My son is 19 now and on his 19th birthday the CSA posted me an ENFORCEMENT of liability notice, trying to collect the £4133.31 I was wrongly assessed for in 2002. I am threatened with all of the actions listed above for non-compliance with their demands. Despite numerous attempts to get them to look at my real income for this period, they refuse on the basis that I should have done it within a month in 2002.

I am so infuriated with the CSA that I have built a web site to collect the names of non-resident-parents (NRP's) who are also suffering abuse at the hands of this tyranny. I hope to gather enough people to make it worth an attorney's time to pursue a Class Action Suit on our behalf. Please apply to

class action hero


Simon Mitchell

Posted Jul 22, 2010