Where a parent does not agree with a decision, and CMS refuse to change it, it may be necessary for you to make an application to appeal to a Tribunal. This can often be the only route to solving more complex disputes. Preparation is fundamental to the success of any Tribunal proceedings.

For any decision that you dispute you must first apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration. The CMS will issue a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice (MRN). It is this MRN that provides the right of appeal. An appeal is lodged by completion of the SSCS2 Form.

The form is straightforward but will require your “grounds of appeal”, which is your reasons why you disagree with the decision. The CMS will review your application and will either agree with you, and change the decision so no further action is required, or they will issue their “response”. The response to your appeal application is often referred to as the “Appeal Bundle”

It is important that you keep the bundle safe, and in order. Read it carefully it will contain important details about the decision and how and why it was made. It is also your opportunity to provide additional evidence to help prove your case. In some circumstances you can ask the Tribunal to direct the other party to provide additional evidence. Any evidence that you want to rely on must be submitted before the matter is listed for a hearing.

All evidence submitted must be made available to all parties. You cannot submit evidence for the Tribunal alone to view.

A Tribunal hearing will be listed, where parties will provide oral evidence along with the written evidence in the bundle. A hearing can be by telephone, video or ‘in person’. If your hearing is telephone or video, you should still dress and behave as if you were attending in person.

During the hearing, a representative from CMS will be asked to provide initial details of the decision under appeal. The Judge will allow each of the parties to submit their own oral evidence, often through a series of questions. This is your opportunity to persuade the Judge that the decision should change.

After all the evidence has been provided, the Judge will decide if there is enough information to make a decision, or if more evidence is needed. If more information is required, the matter will “adjourned” and further ‘Directions’ will be issued. If a final decision can be made, the notice will be issued in writing and a copy given to all parties, including CMS. The Tribunal cannot make decisions about the collection or enforcement of maintenance. It is the responsibility of CMS to implement the Tribunal decision, and to make any adjustments to the account.

The Tribunal’s decision is authoritative, and you can only appeal it on a point of law, not just because you disagree with the findings.

If you are involved in Tribunal proceedings, or about to embark on that journey it is vital that you obtain sound guidance. Our consultants have extensive knowledge about the CMS system and how the Tribunal process operates. Advocacy services are also available.
Book your consultation now and have the experts at your side.

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If you need help with any Child Maintenance Service decision or threats of legal enforcement against child maintenance arrears, contact us now.