Landmark takes both sides as Court of Appeal rules on CSA issue

Landmark Chambers found itself on both the winning and losing sides of a Court of Appeal legal tussle that resulted in a ruling that the Child Support Agency (CSA) does not owe a duty of care in how maintenance payments are assessed.

Divorced Leeds mother Denise Rowley alleged she suffered loss of wealth and her home due to the agency’s negligence when it came to assessing her claim for child maintenance. The CSA initially awarded Rowley £16 a week for her three children.

Rowley’s case was allowed into the appeal court as a test case to establish whether, and in what circumstances, families can obtain compensation through the courts in actions against the CSA.

The judgment, handed down by Lord Justices Dyson, Waller and Keene, held unanimously that the imposition of a duty of care would be inconsistent with the statutory scheme for child support and that it would not be fair, just and reasonable to impose it.

Resolution, the family law association of solicitors, supported and intervened in Rowley’s appeal, calling the decision a major blow for the thousands of families that feel let down by the agency.

The agency, however, is set to be scrapped next year as part of a radical reform of the maintenance system.

Rowley instructed Ramby De Mello of 6 King’s Bench Walk and solicitor advocate Kamar Uddin from Res Ipsa Solicitors through direct access, while Richard Drabble QC of Landmark chambers intervened for Resolution.

Nigel Giffin QC of 11KBW and Daniel Kolinsky of Landmark were instructed on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions.