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The Child Support(Northern Ireland) Order 1991

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Reviews of decisions of child support officers

20.—(1) Where—

(a)an application for a maintenance assessment is refused; or

(b)an application, under Article 19, for the review of a maintenance assessment which is in force is refused,

the person who made that application may apply to the Department for the refusal to be reviewed.

(2) Where a maintenance assessment is in force the absent parent or person with care with respect to whom it was made may apply to the Department for the assessment to be reviewed.

(3) Where a maintenance assessment is cancelled, the appropriate person may apply to the Department for the cancellation to be reviewed.

(4) Where an application for the cancellation of a maintenance assessment is refused, the appropriate person may apply to the Department for the refusal to be reviewed.

(5) An application under this Article shall give the applicant’s reasons (in writing) for making it.

(6) The Department shall refer to a child support officer any application under this Article which is duly made; and the child support officer shall conduct the review applied for unless in his opinion there are no reasonable grounds for supposing that the refusal, assessment or cancellation in question—

(a)was made in ignorance of a material fact;

(b)was based on a mistake as to a material fact;

(c)was wrong in law.

(7) The Department shall arrange for a review under this Article to be conducted by a child support officer who played no part in taking the decision which is to be reviewed.

(8) Before conducting any review under this Article, the child support officer concerned shall give to such persons as may be prescribed, such notice of the proposed review as may be prescribed.

(9) If a child support officer conducting a review under this Article is satisfied that a maintenance assessment or (as the case may be) a fresh maintenance assessment should be made, he shall proceed accordingly.

(10) In making a maintenance assessment by virtue of paragraph (9) a child support officer shall, if he is aware of any material change of circumstance since the decision being reviewedwas taken, take account of that change of circumstance in making the assessment.

(11) The Department may make regulations—

(a)as to the manner in which applications under this Article are to be made;

(b)as to the procedure to be followed with respect to such applications; and

(c)with respect to reviews conducted under this Article.

(12) In this Article “appropriate person” means the absent parent or person with care with respect to whom the maintenance assessment in question was, or remains, in force.

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