Thursday, 29 March 2012

CSA forced to pay up for mistake

The Herald recently reported that the Child Support Agency (CSA) has paid the legal fees of a father which were incurred by him in disputing repeated demands by the CSA, where those demands were subsequently found to be mistaken.

The CSA claimed that Henry Roy owed £8,000. They pursued Mr Roy twice through the courts before it was found that his liability was limited to just £1,000.

The CSA has admitted that the case was mishandled and will pay £1,700 towards Mr Roy’s costs.

Whilst the reimbursement of his legal fees undoubtedly goes some way towards redressing Mr Roy’s experience, it does not address the misery and stress suffered by Mr Roy during a time when he says that he was made to feel like a criminal.

This is a very unusual outcome and should not be taken as the norm. It does, however, highlight the difficulties experienced by individuals when the CSA gets it wrong.  

I am frequently contacted by individuals who claim that the CSA has made an error in its assessment but pursues the individual regardless. Mr Roy was fortunate to take good legal advice but often this can be disproportionate to the sums in question (public funding (“legal aid”) is not available and individuals must therefore pay privately).

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