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Merchant Shipping Act 1995

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40 Claims against seaman’s wages for maintenance, etc. of dependants.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Where, during a seaman’s employment in a ship, expenses are incurred by a responsible authority for the benefit of any dependant of his and the expenses are of a kind specified in regulations under this section and such further conditions, if any, as may be so specified are satisfied, the authority may by notice in writing complying with the regulations require the persons employing the seaman—

(a)to retain for a period specified in the notice such proportion of his net wages as may be so specified; and

(b)to give to the responsible authority as soon as may be notice in writing of the seaman’s discharge from the ship;

and the persons employing the seaman shall comply with the notice (subject to subsection (3) below) and give notice in writing of its contents to the seaman.

(2)For the purposes of this section—

(a)the following persons, and no others, shall be taken to be a seaman’s dependants, that is to say, his spouse and any person under the age of 19 whom he is liable, for the purposes of any enactment in any part of the United Kingdom, to maintain or in respect of whom he is liable under any such enactment to make contributions to a local authority; and

(b)expenses incurred for the benefit of any person include (in addition to any payments made to him or on his behalf) expenses incurred for providing him with accommodation or care or for exercising supervision over him;

but no expenses shall be specified in regulations under this section unless they are such that a magistrates’ court has power under any enactment in force in any part of the United Kingdom to order the making of payments in respect thereof.

(3)Not more than the following proportion of a seaman’s net wages shall be retained under subsection (1) above (whether in pursuance of one or more notices)—

(a)one-half if the notice or notices relate to one dependant only;

(b)two-thirds if the notice or notices relate to two or more dependants.

(4)Where a responsible authority have served a notice under this section on the persons employing a seaman a magistrates’ court may, on the application of the authority, make an order for the payment to the authority of such sum, not exceeding the proportion of the seaman’s wages which those persons were required by virtue of this section to retain, as the court, having regard to the expenses incurred by the authority and the seaman’s means, thinks fit.

(5)Any sums paid out of a seaman’s wages in pursuance of an order under this section shall be deemed to be paid to him in respect of his wages; and the service, on the persons who employed the seaman, of such an order or of an order dismissing an application for such an order shall terminate the period for which they were required to retain the wages.

(6)An application for an order under this section for the payment of any sum by the persons who employed a seaman shall be deemed, for the purposes of any proceedings, to be an application for an order against the seaman; but the order, when served on those persons, shall have effect as an order against them and may be enforced accordingly.

(7)Parts I and III of the M1Maintenance Orders Act 1950 shall have effect as if an order under this section were included among those referred to in sections 4(1) and (2), 9(1) and (2), and 12(1) and (2) of that Act; and any sum payable by any persons under an order made under this section in any part of the United Kingdom may, in any other part of the United Kingdom, be recovered from them as a debt due to the authority on whose application the order was made.

(8)Any notice or order under this section may be served by registered post or recorded delivery service.

(9)The Secretary of State may make regulations specifying—

(a)the expenses in respect of which a notice may be served by a responsible authority under subsection (1) above;

(b)any conditions that must be satisfied if such a notice is to be served;

(c)the period that may be specified in such a notice (being a period beginning with the service of the notice and ending a specified number of days after the seaman’s discharge from his ship);

(d)the form of such a notice and the information to be contained therein; and

(e)the amounts to be deducted from a seaman’s wages in computing his net wages for the purposes of this section;

and the amounts specified under paragraph (e) above may include amounts allotted by allotment notes issued under section 36.

(10)In this section “responsible authority” means the Secretary of State, the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland, a Health and Social Services Board acting on behalf of that Department, or (except in Northern Ireland) any local authority.

(11)In the application of subsection (2)(a) above to Northern Ireland, for the reference to a local authority there shall be substituted a reference to a Health and Social Services Board and in subsection (10) above and this subsection “Health and Social Services Board” means such a Board established under the M2Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972.

(12)In this section “magistrates’ court”—

(a)in relation to Scotland, means the sheriff court, and

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, means a court of summary jurisdiction.

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