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Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

27General provisions relating to application for recovery of maintenance in England, etc.

(1)Where the Secretary of State receives from the appropriate authority in a convention country an application by a person in that country for the recovery of maintenance from another person who is for the time being residing in England and Wales or in Northern Ireland, he shall send the application, together with any accompanying documents, to the clerk of a magistrates' court acting for the petty sessions area or petty sessions district, as the case may be, in which that other person is residing; and the application shall be treated for the purposes of any enactment as if it were a complaint and references in this section and in sections 28, 29 and 30 of this Act to the complaint, the complainant and the defendant shall be construed accordingly.

(2)Where the complaint is for an affiliation order, a magistrates' court acting for the petty sessions area or petty sessions district, as the case may be, in which the defendant is residing shall have jurisdiction to hear the complaint.

(3)Section 15(2)(a) of the Guardianship of Minors Act 1971 (which restricts the power of a magistrates' court to entertain an application under that Act relating to a minor who has attained the age of sixteen) shall not apply to the complaint.

(4)If a summons to appear before a magistrates' court having jurisdiction to hear the complaint cannot be duly served on the defendant, the clerk of the court shall, subject to subsection (5) below, return the complaint and the accompanying documents to the Secretary of State with a statement giving such information as he possesses as to the whereabouts of the defendant, and unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the defendant is not residing in the United Kingdom he shall deal with the complaint in accordance with subsection (1) above or section 31 of this Act, as the circumstances of the case require.

(5)If the clerk of a magistrates' court to whom the complaint is sent in pursuance of a provision of this section is satisfied that the defendant is residing within the jurisdiction of another magistrates' court in that part of the United Kingdom in which the first-mentioned court is he shall send the complaint and accompanying documents to the clerk of that other court and shall inform the Secretary of State that he has done so.

(6)The clerk of a court to whom the complaint is sent under subsection (5) above shall proceed as if it had been sent to him under subsection (1) above.

(7)When hearing the complaint a magistrates' court shall proceed as if the complainant were before the court.

(8)If a magistrates' court makes an order on the complaint, the clerk of the court shall register the order in the prescribed manner in that court.

(9)Payment of sums due under a registered order shall, while the order is registered in a magistrates' court, be made in such manner and to such person as may be prescribed, and none of the following enactments relating to the power of a magistrates' court to direct payments to be made to or through the collecting officer of the court or some other person, that is to say, section 52 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1952, section 5(5) of the Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957, section 13(2) of the Matrimonial Proceedings (Magistrates' Courts) Act 1960 and subsections (1) to (8) of section 95 of the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1964, shall apply in relation to a registered order.

(10)Without prejudice to the generality of the power to make rules under section 15 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1949 (magistrates' courts rules), the said power shall include power to prescribe the orders made or other things done by a magistrates' court, or an officer of such a court, under this Part of this Act, notice of which is to be given to such persons as the rules may provide and the manner in which such notice shall be given.

(11)In the application of this section to Northern Ireland, in subsection (10), for the reference to section 15 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1949 there shall be substituted a reference to section 23 of the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1964.

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