We will of course consider any other implications of this judgement carefully and take the appropriate action.” The department is now thought to be considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.
This result is bound to please fathers’ rights groups as well as many readers of this blog.
A spokesman said: “It is extremely disappointing that parents who have flouted their legal responsibility to financially support their children have invoked the Human Rights Act to seek to continue to do so.” Perhaps – but if this judgement is correct, hasn’t the CSA flouted its legal responsibilities too?
The spokesman added: “Regrettably, we need every enforcement measure at our disposal to ensure the minority of irresponsible parents pay for their children. It is important to stress that this judgement does not question the legality of bringing parents who repeatedly refuse to pay for their children to the attention of magistrates, who can then decide whether to send them to prison.
The Latin expression sometimes used to define the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is: (the burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies).
Lord Justice Ward said the ruling had been made with “considerable reluctance” and in the full knowledge that it could “emasculate” the CSA’s ability to extract money from recalcitrant fathers.
Here’s a link to a guardian article, a left wing feminist publication not known for its fair treatment of men, bit even they recognise it is a gender issue: What the Guardian doesn’t appear to recognise is that divorce and separation, losing regular contact with children, losing the majority of your assets and being forced by the courts to start all over again at the age of 40 or 50 is one of the main causes of suicide in men.
And the onus has been on the parent to prove why he shouldn’t be sent to prison, which reversed the traditional burden of proof.
Th[is] ruling means the burden of proof, the serving of summons notices and disclosure of documents will now be improved to a level similar to criminal proceedings – which is only fair if people are threatened with the ultimate sanction of imprisonment.” No one will be surprised to hear that the Department for Work and Pensions is unhappy with the judgement.
Many are simply unable to pay and are met with an application to put them in prison or disqualify them from driving.” He added: “In another recent case, a father was arrested, taken to court and sent to prison all on the same day, with no opportunity to challenge the evidence against him.
The CSA has been sending summons notices through the post, often to an old address, so this has led to some parents being tracked down and arrested, knowing nothing of the court proceedings.