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Maintenance Enforcement Act 1991

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

The Maintenance Orders Act 1950 (c. 37)

3(1)In section 18 of the Maintenance Orders Act 1950 (enforcement of registered orders), in subsection (2) (orders registered in magistrates' courts to be enforceable as magistrates' courts maintenance orders) for the words “shall be enforceable” there shall be substituted “shall, subject to the modifications of sections 76 and 93 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 specified in subsections (2ZA) and (2ZB) of this section, be enforceable”.

(2)After that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsections—

(2ZA)Section 76 (enforcement of sums adjudged to be paid) shall have effect as if for subsections (4) to (6) there were substituted the following subsections—

(4)Where proceedings are brought for the enforcement of a magistrates' court maintenance order under this section, the court may vary the order by exercising one of its powers under subsection (5) below.

(5)The powers of the court are—

(a)the power to order that payments under the order be made directly to the clerk of the court or the clerk of any other magistrates' court;

(b)the power to order that payments under the order be made to the clerk of the court, or to the clerk of any other magistrates' court, by such method of payment falling within section 59(6) above (standing order, etc.) as may be specified;

(c)the power to make an attachment of earnings order under the [1971 c. 32.] Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 to secure payments under the order.

(6)In deciding which of the powers under subsection (5) above it is to exercise, the court shall have regard to any representations made by the debtor (within the meaning of section 59 above).

(7)Subsection (4) of section 59 above (power of court to require debtor to open account) shall apply for the purposes of subsection (5) above as it applies for the purposes of that section but as if for paragraph (a) there were substituted—

(a)the court proposes to exercise its power under paragraph (b) of section 76(5) below, and.

(2ZB)In section 93 (complaint for arrears), subsection (6) (court not to impose imprisonment in certain circumstances) shall have effect as if for paragraph (b) there were substituted—

(b)if the court is of the opinion that it is appropriate—

(i)to make an attachment of earnings order; or

(ii)to exercise its power under paragraph (b) of section 76(5) above.

4(1)In section 19 of that Act (functions of collecting officers, etc.), in subsection (2) (court to order that payments under maintenance order registered in court of summary jurisdiction in England or Northern Ireland be made to collecting officer, unless court satisfied it is undesirable to do so) for the words “unless it is satisfied that it is undesirable to do so” there shall be substituted “unless, in the case of a court of summary jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, it is satisfied that it is undesirable to do so”.

(2)For subsection (3) of that section (order under subsection (2) may be varied or revoked) there shall be substituted the following subsection—

(3)An order made under subsection (2) of this section—

(a)by a court of summary jurisdiction in England may be varied or revoked by an exercise of the powers conferred by virtue of section 18(2ZA) or section 22(1A) or (1E) of this Act;

(b)by a court of summary jurisdiction in Northern Ireland may be varied or revoked by a subsequent order.

5In section 22 of that Act (discharge and variation of maintenance orders registered in summary or sheriff courts), after subsection (1) (power of registering court to vary rate of payments under order) there shall be inserted the following subsections—

(1A)The power of a magistrates' court in England and Wales to vary a maintenance order under subsection (1) of this section shall include power, if the court is satisfied that payment has not been made in accordance with the order, to vary the order by exercising one of its powers under subsection (1B) of this section.

(1B)The powers of the court are—

(a)the power to order that payments under the order be made directly to the clerk of the court or the clerk of any other magistrates' court in England and Wales;

(b)the power to order that payments under the order be made to the clerk of the court, or to the clerk of any other magistrates' court in England and Wales, by such method of payment falling within section 59(6) of the [1980 c. 43.] Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (standing order, etc.) as may be specified;

(c)the power to make an attachment of earnings order under the [1971 c. 32.] Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 to secure payments under the order.

(1C)In deciding which of the powers under subsection (1B) of this section it is to exercise, the court shall have regard to any representations made by the person liable to make payments under the order.

(1D)Subsection (4) of section 59 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (power of court to require debtor to open account) shall apply for the purposes of subsection (1B) of this section as it applies for the purposes of that section but as if for paragraph (a) there were substituted—

(a)the court proposes to exercise its power under paragraph (b) of section 22(1B) of the [1950 c. 37.] Maintenance Orders Act 1950, and.

(1E)Subsections (4) to (11) of section 60 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (power of clerk and court to vary maintenance order) shall apply in relation to a maintenance order for the time being registered under this Part of this Act in a magistrates' court in England and Wales as they apply in relation to a maintenance order made by a magistrates' court in England and Wales but—

(a)as if in subsection (4) for paragraph (b) there were substituted—

(b)payments under the order are required to be made to the clerk of the court, or to the clerk of any other magistrates' court, by any method of payment falling within section 59(6) above (standing order, etc.);and as if after the words “the court” there were inserted “which made the order”;

(b)as if in subsection (5) for the words “to the clerk” there were substituted “in accordance with paragraph (a) of section 22(1B) of the Maintenance Orders Act 1950”;

(c)as if in subsection (7), paragraph (c) and the word “and” immediately preceding it were omitted;

(d)as if in subsection (8) for the words “paragraphs (a) to (d) of section 59(3) above” there were substituted “section 22(1B) of the Maintenance Orders Act 1950”;

(e)as if for subsections (9) and (10) there were substituted the following subsections—

(9)In deciding which of the powers under section 22(1B) of the [1950 c. 37.] Maintenance Orders Act 1950 it is to exercise, the court shall have regard to any representations made by the debtor.

(10)Subsection (4) of section 59 above (power of court to require debtor to open account) shall apply for the purposes of subsection (8) above as it applies for the purposes of that section but as if for paragraph (a) there were substituted—

(a)the court proposes to exercise its power under paragraph (b) of section 22(1B) of the Maintenance Orders Act 1950, and.

6In section 24 of that Act (cancellation of registration), after subsection (5) (effect of cancellation of order registered in court of summary jurisdiction) there shall be inserted the following subsection—

(5A)On the cancellation of the registration of a maintenance order registered in a magistrates' court in England and Wales, any order—

(a)made in relation thereto by virtue of the powers conferred by section 18(2ZA) or section 22(1A) or (1E) of this Act, and

(b)requiring payment to the clerk of a magistrates' court in England and Wales (whether or not by any method of payment falling within section 59(6) of the [1980 c. 43.] Magistrates' Courts Act 1980),

shall cease to have effect; but until the person liable to make payments under the maintenance order receives the prescribed notice of the cancellation, he shall be deemed to comply with the maintenance order if he makes payments in accordance with any such order which was in force immediately before the cancellation.

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