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The Child Support(Northern Ireland) Order 1991

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Information required by the Department

16.—(1) The Department may make regulations requiring any information or evidence needed for the determination of any application under this Order, or any question arising in connection with such an application, or needed in connection with the collection or enforcement of child support or other maintenance under this Order, to be furnished—

(a)by such persons as may be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Department; and

(b)in accordance with the regulations.

(2) Where the Department has in its possession any information acquired by it in connection with its functions under any of the benefit Acts, it may—

(a)make use of that information for purposes of this Order; or

(b)disclose it to the Secretary of State for purposes of the Child Support Act 1991(1).

(3) The Department may by regulations make provision authorising the disclosure by it or by child support officers, in such circumstances as may be prescribed, of such information held by them for purposes of this Order as may be prescribed.

(4) The provisions of Schedule 2 (which relate to information held by the Department of the Environment or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and required by the Department) shall have effect.

Powers of inspectors

17.—(1) Where, in a particular case, the Department considers it appropriate to do so for the purpose of acquiring information which it or any child support officer requires for purposes of this Order, it may appoint a person to act as an inspector under this Article.

(2) Every inspector shall be furnished with a certificate of his appointment.

(3) Without prejudice to his being appointed to act in relation to any other case, or being appointed to act for a further period in relation to the case in question, an inspector’s appointment shall cease at the end of such period as may be specified.

(4) An inspector shall have power—

(a)to enter at all reasonable times—

(i)any specified premises, other than premises used solely as a dwelling-house; and

(ii)any premises which are not specified but which are used by any specified person for the purpose of carrying on any trade, profession, vocation or business; and

(b)to make such examination and enquiry there as he considers appropriate.

(5) An inspector exercising his powers may question any person aged 18 or over whom he finds on the premises.

(6) If required to do so by an inspector exercising his powers, any person who is or has been—

(a)an occupier of the premises in question;

(b)an employer or an employee working at or from those premises;

(c)carrying on at or from those premises any trade, profession, vocation or business;

(d)an employee or agent of any person mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c),

shall furnish to the inspector all such information and documents as the inspector may reasonably require.

(7) No person shall be required under this Article to answer any question or to give any evidence tending to incriminate himself or, in the case of a person who is married, his or her spouse.

(8) On applying for admission to any premises in the exercise of his powers, an inspector shall, if so required, produce his certificate.

(9) If any person—

(a)intentionally delays or obstructs any inspector exercising his powers; or

(b)without reasonable excuse, refuses or neglects to answer any question or furnish any information or to produce any document when required to do so under this Article,

he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(10) In this Article—

“certificate” means a certificate of appointment issued under this Article;

“inspector” means an inspector appointed under this Article;

“powers” means powers conferred by this Article; and

“specified” means specified in the certificate in question.

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