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Attachment of Earnings Act 1971

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Schedule 1Maintenance orders to which this Act applies

1An order for alimony, maintenance or other payments made, or having effect as if made, under Part II of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 (ancillary relief in actions for divorce etc.).

2An order for payments to or in respect of a child, being an order made, or having effect as if made, under Part III of the said Act of 1965 (maintenance of children following divorce, etc.).

3An order for periodical or other payments made under Part I of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970.

4An order for maintenance or other payments to or in respect of a spouse or child, being an order made, or having effect as if made, under the Matrimonial Proceedings (Magistrates' Courts) Act I960.

5An order under—

(a)section 9(2), 10(1), 11 or 12(2) of the Guardianship of Minors Act 1971 (payments for maintenance of persons who are, or have been, in guardianship) ; or

(b)section 6 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 (payments for maintenance of ward of court).

6An affiliation order (that is to say an order under section 4 of the Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957, section 44 of the National Assistance Act 1948, section 26 of the Children Act 1948 or section 24 of the Ministry of Social Security Act 1966).

7An order under section 87 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, section 30 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 or section 23 of the Ministry of Social Security Act 1966 (various provisions for obtaining contributions from a person whose dependants are assisted or maintained out of public funds).

8An order under section 43 of the National Assistance Act 1948 (recovery of costs of maintaining assisted person).

9An order to which section 16 of the Maintenance Orders Act 1950 applies by virtue of subsection (2)(b) or (c) of that section (that is to say an order made by a court in Scotland or Northern Ireland and corresponding to one of those specified in the foregoing paragraphs) and which has been registered in a court in England and Wales under Part II of that Act.

10A maintenance order within the meaning of the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act 1920 (Commonwealth orders enforceable in the United Kingdom) registered in, or confirmed by, a court in England and Wales under that Act.

Schedule 2Taxes, social security contributions etc. relevant for purposes of section 3(6)

1Income tax or any other tax or liability recoverable under section 65, 66 or 68 of the Taxes Management Act 1970.

2Selective employment tax under section 44 of the Finance Act 1966.

3Contributions under—

section 3 (flat-rate) or section 4 (graduated) of the National Insurance Act 1965 ;

section 1 of the National Health Service Contributions Act 1965 ; or

section 2 of the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1965.

4Redundancy Fund contributions under section 27 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1965.

Schedule 3Deductions by employer under attachment of earnings order

Part IScheme of deductions

Preliminary definitions

1The following three paragraphs have effect for defining and explaining, for purposes of this Schedule, expressions used therein.

2" Pay-day ", in relation to earnings paid to a debtor, means an occasion on which they are paid.

3" Attachable earnings", in relation to a pay-day, are the earnings which remain payable to the debtor on that day after deduction by the employer of—

(a)income tax;

(b)contributions under any of the following enactments—

the National Insurance Act 1965,

the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1965, or the National Health Service Contributions Act 1965 ;

(c)amounts deductible under any enactment, or in pursuance of a request in writing by the debtor, for the purposes of a superannuation scheme within the meaning of the Wages Councils Act 1959.

4On any pay-day—

(a)" the normal deduction" is arrived at by applying the normal deduction rate (as specified in the relevant attachment of earnings order) with respect to the period since the last pay-day or, if it is the first pay-day of the debtor's employment with the employer, since the employment began ; and

(b)" the protected earnings " are arrived at by applying the protected earnings rate (as so specified) with respect to the said period.

Employer's deduction (judgment debts and administration orders)

5In the case of an attachment of earnings order made to secure the payment of a judgment debt or payments under an administration order, the employer shall on any pay-day—

(a)if the attachable earnings exceed the protected earnings, deduct from the attachable earnings the amount of the excess or the normal deduction, whichever is the less ;

(b)make no deduction if the attachable earnings are equal to, or less than, the protected earnings.

Employer's deduction (other cases)

6(1)The following provision shall have effect in the case of an attachment of earnings order to which paragraph 5 above does not apply.

(2)If on a pay-day the attachable earnings exceed the sum of—

(a)the protected earnings ; and

(b)so much of any amount by which the attachable earnings on any previous pay-day fell short of the protected earnings as has not been made good by virtue of this sub-paragraph on another previous pay-day,

then, in so far as the excess allows, the employer shall deduct from the attachable earnings the amount specified in the following sub-paragraph.

(3)The said amount is the sum of—

(a)the normal deduction ; and

(b)so much of the normal deduction on any previous pay-day as was not deducted on that day and has not been paid by virtue of this sub-paragraph on any other previous pay-day.

(4)No deduction shall be made on any pay-day when the attachable earnings are equal to, or less than, the protected earnings.

Part IIPriority as between orders

7Where the employer is required to comply with two or more attachment of earnings orders in respect of the same debtor, all or none of which orders are made to secure either the payment of judgment debts or payments under an administration order, then on any pay-day the employer shall, for the purpose of complying with Part I of this Schedule—

(a)deal with the orders according to the respective dates on which they were made, disregarding any later order until an earlier one has been dealt with ;

(b)deal with any later order as if the earnings to which it relates were the residue of the debtor's earnings after the making of any deduction to comply with any earlier order.

8Where the employer is required to comply with two or more attachment of earnings orders, and one or more (but not all) of those orders are made to secure either the payment of judgment debts or payments under an administration order, then on any pay-day the employer shall, for the purpose of complying with Part I of this Schedule—

(a)deal first with any order which is not made to secure the payment of a judgment debt or payments under an administration order (complying with paragraph 7 above if there are two or more such orders); and

(b)deal thereafter with any order which is made to secure the payment of a judgment debt or payments under an administration order as if the earnings to which it relates were the residue of the debtor's earnings after the making of any deduction to comply with an order having priority by virtue of sub-paragraph (a) above ; and

(c)if there are two or more orders to which sub-paragraph (b) above applies, comply with paragraph 7 above in respect of those orders.

Schedule 4Enactments providing benefits which are not to be treated as debtor's earnings

The National Insurance Act 1965.

The National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1965.

The Family Allowances Act 1965.

The Ministry of Social Security Act 1966.

The Industrial Injuries and Diseases (Old Cases)Act 1967.

The Family Income Supplements Act 1970.

Schedule 5Section 20 of Maintenance Orders Act 1958 as having effect in consequence of this act

20(1)Notwithstanding anything in this Act, the clerk of a magistrates' court who is entitled to receive payments under a maintenance order for transmission to another person shall not apply for the registration of the maintenance order under Part I of this Act or give notice in relation to the order in pursuance of subsection (1) of section five thereof unless he is requested in writing to do so by a person entitled to receive the payments through him; and where the clerk is requested as aforesaid—

(i)he shall comply with the request unless it appears to him unreasonable in the circumstances to do so;

(ii)the person by whom the request was made shall have the same liabilities for all the costs properly incurred in or about any proceedings taken in pursuance of the request as if the proceedings had been taken by that person.

(2)An application to a magistrates' court by virtue of subsection (2) of section four of this Act for the variation of a maintenance order shall be made by complaint.

(8)For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that a complaint may be made to enforce payment of a sum due and unpaid under a maintenance order notwithstanding that a previous complaint has been made in respect of that sum or a part thereof and whether or not an order was made in pursuance of the previous complaint.

Schedule 6Enactments repealed

ChapterShort TitleExtent of Repeal
6 & 7 Eliz. 2. c. 39.The Maintenance Orders Act 1958.Section 9.
In section 20, in subsection (1) the words " or Part II of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 ", the word " or " at the end of paragraph (a), paragraphs (b) and (c) and the words from "and for the purposes " onwards; in subsection (2), the words " Subject to rules of court made by virtue of section 18(3)(c) of the Administration of Justice Act 1970", and the words " and an application to a magistrates' court for an attachment of earnings order, or an order discharging or varying an attachment of earnings order"; and subsections (3), (4), (5) and (7).
In section 23(2), the words " except paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section 20 ".
1970 c. 31.The Administration of Justice Act 1970.Sections 13 to 26.
Section 27(1) and (2).

In section 28—

in subsection (1), the definitions of "Act of 1958 ", " administration order ", " the court ", " debtor ", "judgment debt", "relevant adjudication", " the employer", "legal aid contribution order", and the words from " ' maintenance payments' " onwards; and subsections (2) to (5).

29(1) to (4).

Section 30(3) and (4).

In section 53, the words " 24 or ".

In section 54(6), the words " and 27 " and " and 7 ". Schedules 5, 6 and 7.

1970 c. 55.The Family Income Supplements Act 1970.Section 14.

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