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The Child Support Departure Direction and Consequential Amendments Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Procedure in relation to the determination of an application

8.—(1) Subject to paragraph (4), where an application has not failed within the meaning of Article 28D of the Order, the Department shall—

(a)give notice of that application to the relevant persons other than the applicant;

(b)send to them details of the grounds on which the application has been made and any relevant information or evidence the applicant has given, except details, information or evidence falling within paragraph (2);

(c)invite representations in writing from the relevant persons other than the applicant on any matter relating to that application; and

(d)set out the provisions of paragraphs (2), (5) and (6) in relation to such representations.

(2) The details, information or evidence referred to in paragraphs (1)(b), (6) and (7) are—

(a)medical evidence or medical advice that has not been disclosed to the applicant or a relevant person and which the Department considers would be harmful to the health of the applicant or that relevant person if disclosed to him;

(b)the address of a relevant person, or of any child in relation to whom the assessment was made in respect of which the application has been made, or any other information which could reasonably be expected to lead to that person or that child being located, where that person has not agreed to disclosure of that address or that information, it is not known to the other party to that assessment and—

(i)the Department is satisfied that that address or that information is not necessary for the determination of that application, or

(ii)the Department is satisfied that that address or that information is necessary for the determination of that application and that there would be a risk of harm or undue distress to that person or that child if disclosure were made.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), the notice referred to in paragraph (1)(a) shall be given as soon as reasonably practicable after—

(a)completion of the preliminary consideration of that application under Article 28B of the Order; or

(b)where the Department has requested information or evidence under regulation 6, receipt of that information or evidence or the expiry of the period of 14 days referred to in regulation 6(2).

(4) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (3) shall not apply where the information or evidence requested in accordance with regulation 6 has not been received by the Department within the period specified in paragraph (2) of that regulation and the Department is satisfied on the information or evidence available to it that a departure direction should not be given.

(5) Where the Department does not receive written representations from a relevant person within 14 days of the date on which representations were invited under paragraph (1), (6) or (7) it may, in the absence of written representations from that person, proceed to determine the application.

(6) The Department may, if it considers it reasonable to do so, send to the applicant a copy of any written representations made following an invitation under paragraph (1)(c), whether or not they were received within the time specified in paragraph (5), except to the extent that the representations contain information or evidence which falls within paragraph (2), and invite him to submit representations in writing on any matters contained in those representations.

(7) Where any information or evidence requested by the Department under regulation 6 is received after notification has been given under paragraph (1), the Department may, if it considers it reasonable to do so and except where that information or evidence falls within paragraph (2), send a copy of such information or evidence to the relevant persons and invite them to submit representations in writing on that information or evidence.

(8) In deciding whether to give a departure direction, the Department shall take into account—

(a)any information or evidence given by the applicant for that direction; and

(b)any written representations made by the applicant or by a relevant person and received by it at the date upon which it determines the application,

and may in addition take into account—

(i)any relevant information or evidence received by it or by a child support officer, in relation to any application for a maintenance assessment or for a review of a maintenance assessment made in respect of the absent parent, person with care and any child in respect of whom the current assessment was made;

(ii)any relevant information or evidence acquired by it in connection with any of its functions under any of the benefit Acts or the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995(1).

(9) Where the Department has determined an application it shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable—

(a)notify the relevant persons of that determination;

(b)where a departure direction has been given, refer the case to a child support officer.

(10) A notification under paragraph (9)(a) shall set out—

(a)the reasons for that determination;

(b)where a departure direction has been given, the basis on which the amount of child support maintenance is to be fixed by any assessment made in consequence of that direction.

(11) The Department may reconsider any application which has been determined by it or by a child support appeal tribunal under Article 28D(1)(b) of the Order where, after the determination of that application, it receives further information or evidence which it is satisfied is relevant to that application.

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