Child maintenance in the EU – extension of civil legal aid

The Community Legal Service (Financial) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 come into force today. They amend the 2001 Regulations (PDF) to add to Reg 3(1) that the following services (relating to enforcement of child maintenance agreements in other EU states) are available without reference to the client’s financial resources:

(ga) Legal Help, Legal Representation, Family Help (Lower) and Family Help (Higher) for a creditor making an application under Article 56(1) of the Maintenance Regulation concerning a maintenance obligation towards a person under the age of 21 arising from a parent-child relationship;

(gb) Legal Representation or Family Help (Higher), in proceedings under the Maintenance Regulation for recognition, registration or enforcement of a maintenance decision, for a party to those proceedings who, in the country in which that decision was made and in relation to that decision, benefitted from—

(i)complete or partial assistance with, or exemption from, costs or expenses; or

(ii)free proceedings before an administrative authority listed in Annex X to the Maintenance Regulation;”

To the definitions in Reg 3(2) is added:

(a) after the definitions of “control order” and “control order proceedings” insert—

““creditor” has the meaning given by Article 2 of the Maintenance Regulation;”

(b) after the definition of “Hague Convention country” insert—

““maintenance decision” has the meaning given to “decision” by Article 2 of the Maintenance Regulation”;

(c) after the definition of “the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972” insert—

““Maintenance Regulation” means Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 of 18th December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to        maintenance obligations, including as applied in relation to Denmark by virtue of the Agreement made on 19th October 2005 between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark.

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