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The Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

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Miscellaneous and supplementalN.I.

[F1X1Reduced benefit decisionsN.I.

43.(1) This Article applies where any person ( the parent)—

(a)has made a request under Article 9(5);

(b)fails to comply with any regulation made under Article 9(7); or

(c)having been treated as having applied for a maintenance calculation under Article 9, refuses to take a scientific test (within the meaning of Article 27A).

(2) The Department may serve written notice on the parent requiring that parent, before the end of a specified period—

(a)in a paragraph (1)(a) case, to give the Department that parent's reasons for making the request;

(b)in a paragraph (1)(b) case, to give the Department that parent's reasons for failing to do so; or

(c)in a paragraph (1)(c) case, to give the Department that parent's reasons for the refusal.

(3) When the specified period has expired, the Department shall consider whether, having regard to any reasons given by the parent, there are reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a)in a paragraph (1)(a) case, if the Department were to do what is mentioned in Article 9(3);

(b)in a paragraph (1)(b) case, if that parent were to be required to comply; or

(c)in a paragraph (1)(c) case, if that parent took the scientific test,

there would be a risk of that parent, or of any children living with that parent, suffering harm or undue distress as a result of the Department's taking such action, or that parent complying or taking the test.

(4) If the Department considers that there are such reasonable grounds, it shall—

(a)take no further action under this Article in relation to the request, the failure or the refusal in question; and

(b)notify the parent, in writing, accordingly.

(5) If the Department considers that there are no such reasonable grounds, it may, except in prescribed circumstances, make a reduced benefit decision with respect to the parent.

(6) In a paragraph (1)(a) case, the Department may from time to time serve written notice on the parent requiring that parent, before the end of a specified period—

(a)to state whether the request under Article 9(5) still stands; and

(b)if so, to give the Department that parent's reasons for maintaining the request,

and paragraphs (3) to (5) have effect in relation to such a notice and any response to it as they have effect in relation to a notice under paragraph (2)(a) and any response to it.

(7) Where the Department makes a reduced benefit decision it shall send a copy of it to the parent.

(8) A reduced benefit decision shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the decision.

(9) Reasons given in response to a notice under paragraph (2) or (6) need not be given in writing unless the Department directs in any case that they shall.

(10) In this Article—

  • comply means to comply with the requirement or with the regulation in question;

  • reduced benefit decision means a decision that the amount payable by way of any relevant benefit to, or in respect of, the parent concerned be reduced by such amount, and for such period, as may be prescribed;

  • relevant benefit means income support or an income-based jobseeker's allowance or any other benefit of a kind prescribed for the purposes of Article 9; and

  • specified, in relation to a notice served under this Article, means specified in the notice; and the period to be specified is to be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Department.]

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Editorial Information

X1This version shows the text of Article 43 after its substitution (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 18, 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 4

F1Art. 43 substituted (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 18, 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 4

X2F40Failure to comply with obligations imposed by Article 9N.I.

43.—(1) This Article applies where any person ( “the parent”)—

(a)fails to comply with a requirement imposed on the parent by the Department under Article 9(1); or

(b)fails to comply with any regulation made under Article 9(9).

(2) [F41The Department] may serve written notice on the parent requiring the parent, before the end of the specified period, either to comply or to give [F42the Department] reasons for failing to do so.

(3) When the specified period has expired, [F43the Department] shall consider whether, having regard to any reasons given by the parent, there are reasonable grounds for believing that, if the parent were to be required to comply, there would be a risk of the parent or of any children living with the parent suffering harm or undue distress as a result of complying.

(4) If [F44the Department] considers that there are such reasonable grounds, [F45it] shall—

(a)take no further action under this Article in relation to the failure in question; and

(b)notify the parent, in writing, accordingly.

(5) If [F44the Department] considers that there are no such reasonable grounds, [F45it] may [F46, except in prescribed circumstances,] give a reduced benefit direction with respect to the parent.

(6) Where [F44the Department] gives a reduced benefit direction [F45it] shall send a copy of it to the parent.

[F47(7) Schedule 4C shall have effect for applying Articles 18, 19, 22 and 28ZA to 28ZC to decisions with respect to reduced benefit directions.]

(9) A reduced benefit direction shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the direction.

(10) Reasons given in response to a notice under paragraph (2) may be given either in writing or orally.

(11) In this Article—

  • “comply” means to comply with the requirement or with the regulation in question;

  • “reduced benefit direction” means a direction F48. . . that the amount payable by way of any relevant benefit to, or in respect of, the parent concerned be reduced by such amount, and for such period, as may be prescribed;

  • “relevant benefit” means income support, [F49an income-based jobseeker’s allowance]F50. . . or any other benefit of a kind prescribed for the purposes of Article 9; and

  • “specified”, in relation to any notice served under this Article, means specified in the notice; and the period to be specified shall be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Department.

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Editorial Information

X2This version shows the text of Article 43 prior to its substitution (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 18, 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 4

F40prosp. in pt. subst. 2000 c. 4 (N.I.)

F411998 NI 10

F421998 NI 10

F431998 NI 10

F441998 NI 10

F451998 NI 10

F461995 NI 13

F471998 NI 10

F481998 NI 10

F491995 NI 15

[F2Finality of decisionsN.I.

43A.(1) Subject to the provisions of this Order, any decision of the Department or an appeal tribunal made in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Order shall be final.

(2) If and to the extent that regulations so provide, any finding of fact or other determination embodied in or necessary to such a decision, or on which such a decision is based, shall be conclusive for the purposes of—

(a)further such decisions;

(b)decisions made in accordance with Articles 9 to 16 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 or section 22 of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, or with regulations under Article 12 of that Order; and

(c)decisions made under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979.]

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F21998 NI 10

Matters arising as respects decisionsN.I.

43B.—(1) Regulations may make provision as respects matters arising pending—

(a)any decision of the Department under Article 13, 14 or 19;

(b)any decision of an appeal tribunal under Article 22; or

(c)any decision of a Child Support Commissioner under Article 25.

(2) Regulations may also make provision as respects matters arising out of the revision under Article 18, or on appeal, of any such decision as is mentioned in paragraph (1).

(3) [F3Any reference in this Article to Article 18, 19 or 22 includes a reference to that Article as extended by Schedule 4C.]

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FeesN.I.

44.—(1) The Department may by regulations provide for the payment, by the [F4absent parent] [F5non-resident parent] or the person with care (or by both), of such fees as may be prescribed in cases where the Department takesF6 any action under Article 7 or 9.

(2) Regulations made under this Article—

(a)may require any information which is needed for the purpose of determining the amount of any such fee to be furnished, in accordance with the regulations, by such person as may be prescribed;

(b)shall provide that no such fees shall be payable by any person to or in respect of whom income support,[F7 an income-based jobseeker's allowance,][F8 any element of child tax credit other than the family element, working tax credit] or any other benefit of a prescribed kind is paid; and

(c)may, in particular, make provision with respect to the recovery by the Department of any fees payable under the regulations.

[F9(3) The provisions of this Order with respect to—

(a)the collection of child support maintenance;

(b)the enforcement of any obligation to pay child support maintenance,

shall apply equally (with any necessary modifications) to fees payable by virtue of regulations made under this Article.]

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F6prosp. insertion by 1995 NI 13

F71995 NI 15

F9Art. 44(3) added (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 25, 68(2), Sch. 3 para. 26; S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 3(1), Sch.

Conduct of proceedingsN.I.

45.  Any[F10 officer of the Department who is authorised] by the Department for the purposes of this Article may, although not of counsel or a solicitor, prosecute or conduct before a court of summary jurisdiction any proceedings under this Order.

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F101995 NI 13

Unauthorised disclosure of informationN.I.

46.—(1) Any person who is, or has been, employed in employment to which this Article applies is guilty of an offence if, without lawful authority, he discloses any information which—

(a)was acquired by him in the course of that employment; and

(b)relates to a particular person.

(2) It is not an offence under this Article—

(a)to disclose information in the form of a summary or collection of information so framed as not to enable information relating to any particular person to be ascertained from it; or

(b)to disclose information which has previously been disclosed to the public with lawful authority.

(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this Article to prove that at the time of the alleged offence—

(a)he believed that he was making the disclosure in question with lawful authority and had no reasonable cause to believe otherwise; or

(b)he believed that the information in question had previously been disclosed to the public with lawful authority and had no reasonable cause to believe otherwise.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this Article shall be liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine or both; or

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.

(5) This Article applies to employment as—

(a)the Chief Child Support Officer;

(b)any other child support officer;

(c)any clerk to, or other officer of,[F11 an appeal tribunal or] a child support tribunal;

(d)any member of the staff of such a tribunal;

(e)a civil servant in connection with the carrying out of any functions under this Order,

and to employment of any other kind which is prescribed for the purposes of this Article.

(6) For the purposes of this Article a disclosure is to be regarded as made with lawful authority if, and only if, it is made—

(a)by a civil servant in accordance with his official duty; or

(b)by any other person either—

(i)for the purposes of the function in the exercise of which he holds the information and without contravening any restriction duly imposed by the responsible person; or

(ii)to, or in accordance with an authorisation duly given by, the responsible person;

(c)in accordance with any statutory provision or order of a court;

(d)for the purpose of instituting, or otherwise for the purposes of, any proceedings before a court or before any tribunal or other body or person mentioned in this Order; or

(e)with the consent of the appropriate person.

(7) “The responsible person” means—

(a)the Lord Chancellor;

(b)the Department;

(c)any person authorised by the Lord Chancellor, or the Department, for the purposes of this paragraph; or

(d)any other prescribed person, or person falling within a prescribed category.

(8) “The appropriate person” means the person to whom the information in question relates, except that if the affairs of that person are being dealt with—

(a)under a power of attorney;

(b)by a controller appointed under Article 101 of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986F12;

(c)by a mental health appointee, that is to say—

(i)a person directed or authorised as mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) of rule 38(1) of Order 109 of the Rules of the Supreme Court (Northern Ireland) 1980F13;

(ii)a controller ad interim appointed under sub-paragraph (b) of that rule;

the appropriate person is the attorney, controller or appointee (as the case may be) or, in a case falling within sub-paragraph (a), the person to whom the information relates.

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F111998 NI 10

F121986 NI 4

Supplementary powers to make regulationsN.I.

47.—(1) The Department may by regulations make such incidental, supplemental and transitional provision as it considers appropriate in connection with any provision made by or under this Order.

(2) The regulations may, in particular, make provision—

(a)as to the procedure to be followed with respect to—

(i)the making of applications for maintenance [F14assessments] [F15calculations];

F16[(ii)the making, cancellation or refusal to make maintenance [F17assessments] [F18calculations];

[F19(iii)the making of decisions under Articles 18 or 19;]]

[F20(ii)the making of decisions under Article 13;

(iii)the making of decisions under Article 18 or 19;]

F21[(b)extending the categories of case to which[F19 Schedule 4C] applies;]

[F22(b)extending the categories of case to which Article 18, 19 or 22 applies;]

(c)as to the date on which an application for a [F23maintenance assessment] [F24maintenance calculation] is to be treated as having been made;

(d)for attributing payments made under maintenance [F25assessments] [F26calculations] to the payment of arrears;

(e)for the adjustment, for the purpose of taking account of the retrospective effect of a [F27maintenance assessment] [F28maintenance calculation], of amounts payable under the [F29assessment] [F30calculation];

(f)for the adjustment, for the purpose of taking account of overpayments or under payments of child support maintenance, of amounts payable under a [F31maintenance assessment] [F32maintenance calculation];

(g)as to the evidence which is to be required in connection with such matters as may be prescribed;

(h)as to the circumstances in which any official record or certificate is to be conclusive evidence;

(i)with respect to the giving of notices or other documents;

(j)for the rounding up or down of any amounts calculated, estimated or otherwise arrived at in applying any provision made by or under this Order.

(3) No power to make regulations conferred by any other provision of this Order shall be taken to limit the powers given to the Department by this Article.

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F191998 NI 10

Regulations and ordersN.I.

48.—(1) Any regulations or any order made by the Lord Chancellor under this Order (except an order made under Article 1(2)) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament in like manner as a statutory instrument and section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946F33 shall apply accordingly.

F34[(2) A statutory rule containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made under Article 7(7), 8(3), 9(1), (9) or (10), 14(2),[F35 28C(2)(b), 28F(3), 30(4A)] 38(2), (3) or (4)[F35 38A, 38B(6)], 39, 40(1), 43 or 44 or Part I of Schedule 1[F35 or under Schedule 4B] shall be laid before the Assembly after being made and shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the regulations, but shall (without prejudice to the validity of anything done thereunder or the making of new regulations) cease to have effect upon the expiration of a period of six months from that dateunless at some time before the expiration of that period the regulations have been approved by a resolution of the Assembly.]

[F36(2) A statutory rule containing (whether alone or with other provisions) regulations made under—

(a)Article 9(1), 14(4) (so far as the regulations make provision for the default rate of child support maintenance mentioned in Article 14(5)(b)), 28C(2)(b), 28F(2)(b), 30(4A), 38(2), 38A, 38B(6), 40(1), 41(2A)(d), 43 or 44;

(b)paragraph 3(2) or 10A(1) of Part I of Schedule 1; or

(c)Schedule 4B,

shall be laid before the Assembly after being made and shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the regulations, but shall (without prejudice to the validity of anything done thereunder or to the making of new regulations) cease to have effect upon the expiration of a period of six months from that date unless at some time before the expiration of that period the regulations have been approved by a resolution of the Assembly.

(2A) A statutory rule containing (whether alone or with other provisions) the first set of regulations made under paragraph 10(1) of Part I of Schedule 1 (as substituted by section 1(3) of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000) shall be laid before the Assembly after being made and shall take effect on such date as may be specified in the regulations, but shall (without prejudice to the validity of anything done thereunder or to the making of new regulations) cease to have effect upon the expiration of a period of six months from that date unless at some time before the expiration of that period the regulations have been approved by a resolution of the Assembly.]

(3) The following statutory rules—

(a)any regulations made by the Department under this Order (except regulations to which paragraph (2) [F37or (2A)] applies); and

(b)any order made by the Department under this Order (except an order made under Article 1(2));

shall be subject to negative resolution.

(4) Any power to make a statutory rule shall be exercisable so to provide for a person to exercise a discretion in dealing with any matter.

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F34Art. 48(2)(2A) substituted for art. 48(2) (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 24(1), 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 3(1), Sch.

F351995 NI 13

F36Art. 48(2)(2A) substituted for art. 48(2) (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 24(1), 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 3(1), Sch.

F37Words in art. 48(3)(a) inserted (22.11.2000 for certain purposes and 3.3.2003 for further certain purposes otherwise prosp.) by Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act (Northern Ireland) 2000 (c. 4), ss. 24(2), 68(2); S.R. 2000/358, art. 2(b), Sch. Pt. II; S.R. 2003/53, art. 3(1), Sch.

Co-ordination with Great BritainN.I.

49.—(1) The Department may make arrangements with the Secretary of State with a view to securing, to the extent allowed for in the arrangements, that—

(a)the provision made by or under this Order ( “the provision made for Northern Ireland”); and

(b)the provision made by or under the Child Support Act 1991F38 ( “the provision made for Great Britain”),

provide for a single system within the United Kingdom.

Paras. (2), (3) rep. by 1998 c. 47

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Application to CrownN.I.

50.—(1) The power of the Department to make regulations under Article 16 requiring prescribed persons to furnish information may be exercised so as to require information to be furnished by persons employed in the service of the Crown or otherwise in the discharge of Crown functions.

(2) In such circumstances, and subject to such conditions, as may be prescribed, an inspector appointed under Article 17 may enter any Crown premises for the purpose of exercising any powers conferred on him by that Article.

(3) Where such an inspector duly enters any Crown premises for those purposes, Article 17 shall apply in relation to persons employed in the service of the Crown or otherwise in the discharge of Crown functions as it applies in relation to other persons.

(4) Where a liable person is in the employment of the Crown, a deduction from earnings order may be made under Article 31 in relation to that person; but in such a case paragraph (8) of Article 32 shall apply only in relation to the failure of that person to comply with any requirement imposed on him by regulations made under Article 32.

Amendments, etc.N.I.

51.—(1) The Lord Chancellor or the Department may by order make such amendments or repeals in, or such modifications of, such statutory provisions as may be specified in the order, as appear to the Lord Chancellor or the Department to be necessary or expedient in consequence of any provision made by or under this Order (including any provision made by virtue of Article 1(3)).

(2) Until Schedule 1 to the Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance (Northern Ireland) Order 1991F39 comes into operation, paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 3 shall have effect with the omission of “and disability appeal tribunals” and the insertion, after “social security appeal tribunals”, of “ and ”.

Para. (3)—Amendments

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F391991 NI 17

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