Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Kehoe: CA 5 Mar 2004

The claimant had applied to the Child Support Agncy for maintenance. They failed utterly to obtain payment, and she complained now that she was denied the opportunity by the 1991 Act to take court proceedings herself.
Held: The denial of access to the courts under section 8 did not engage her civil rights. The Act transferred to the Agency responsibility for making assessments for child maintenance. The right for the claimant to apply for judicial review would be an insufficient remedy. ‘To take away the jurisdiction of the court to determine what is essentially a class of civil action and entrust it to organs dependent on the Government is indissociable from a danger of arbitrary power, has serious consequences for the fundamental principles of law and so cannot be overlooked by the court.’ but ‘Her right to a fair trial is certainly restricted but not so restricted that the very essence of her right of access to the court is impaired.’ The judge had failed to consider whether the steps taken were proportional. Properly implemented, the Act would be a fair balance of rights.
The Hon Mr Justice Latham Lord Justice Ward Lord Justice Keene
[2004] EWCA Civ 225, Times 10-Mar-2004, Gazette 01-Apr-2004, [2004] QB 1378, [2004] UKHRR 443, [2004] 1 FCR 511, [2004] 2 WLR 1481, [2004] 1 FLR 1132
Human Rights Act 1998 6.1, Child Support Act 1991 8
England and Wales
CitedRegina (Holding and Barnes plc) v Secretary of State for Environment Transport and the Regions; Regina (Alconbury Developments Ltd and Others) v Same and Others HL 9-May-2001
Power to call in is administrative in nature
The powers of the Secretary of State to call in a planning application for his decision, and certain other planning powers, were essentially an administrative power, and not a judicial one, and therefore it was not a breach of the applicants’ rights . .
CitedMatthews v Ministry of Defence HL 13-Feb-2003
The claimant sought damages against the Crown, having suffered asbestosis whilst in the armed forces. He challenged the denial to him of a right of action by the 1947 Act.
Held: Human rights law did not create civil rights, but rather voided . .
CitedRuna Begum v London Borough of Tower Hamlets (First Secretary of State intervening) HL 13-Feb-2003
The appellant challenged the procedure for reviewing a decision made as to the suitability of accomodation offered to her after the respondent had accepted her as being homeless. The procedure involved a review by an officer of the council, with an . .
CitedHuxley v Child Support Agency CA 2000
The court gave an extensive analysis of the workings of the Child Support Act: (Lady Justice Hale) ‘It is important to bear in mind that the child support scheme is not simply a method for the State to recoup part of its benefit expenditure from the . .
Appeal fromRegina (Kehoe) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions QBD 16-May-2003
The applicant had been obliged under statute to have her claim for maintenance for her child pursued thorugh the Child Support Agency. She said that through the delay and otherwise, her claim had been lost.
Held: The statute debarred the . .
CitedManby v Scott 1663
Since a husband owed it to the community to sustain himself, he was under the inevitable compulsion to sustain his other self, his wife, who was ‘bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, and no man did ever hate his own flesh so far as not to preserve . .
CitedBazeley v Forder 1868
A wife’s agency of necessity for her husband extended to cover necessities for the children. . .
CitedGolder v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1975
G was a prisoner who was refused permission by the Home Secretary to consult a solicitor with a view to bringing libel proceedings against a prison officer. The court construed article 6 of ECHR, which provides that ‘in the determination of his . .
CitedKonig v Federal Republic of Germany ECHR 28-Jun-1978
The reasonableness of the duration of proceedings must be assessed according to the circumstances of each case, including its complexity, the applicant’s conduct and the manner in which the administrative and judicial authorities dealt with the . .
CitedJames and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1986
The claimants challenged the 1967 Act, saying that it deprived them of their property rights when lessees were given the power to purchase the freehold reversion.
Held: Article 1 (P1-1) in substance guarantees the right of property. Allowing a . .
CitedZ And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-May-2001
Four children complained that, for years before they were taken into care by the local authority, its social services department was well aware that they were living in filthy conditions and suffering ‘appalling’ neglect in the home of their . .
CitedIn Re C (A Minor: Contribution Notice) FD 13-May-1993
The father appealed against an order for contribution under the 1989 Act. It was argued that the contributing parent must simply cut his cloth acording to his means, and organise his life to follow first his duty to maintain his child.
Held: . .
CitedAirey v Ireland ECHR 9-Oct-1979
Family law proceedings such as judicial separation do give rise to civil rights. In complex cases article 6 might require some provision for legal assistance, the precise form being a matter for the member state. The Court reiterated the importance . .
CitedAshingdane v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-1985
The right of access to the courts is not absolute but may be subject to limitations. These are permitted by implication since the right of access ‘by its very nature calls for regulation by the State, regulation which may vary in time and place . .
CitedFayed v United Kingdom ECHR 6-Oct-1994
The Secretary of State had appointed inspectors to investigate and report on a company takeover. In their report, which was published, the inspectors made findings which were critical of and damaging to the applicants, who relied on the civil limb . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedDepartment of Social Security v Butler CA 11-Aug-1995
The Secretary of State was not entitled to a Mareva injunction preventing the disposal of assets against a parent pending the issue of a child support assessment. The court refused a freezing order:- (Morritt LJ) ‘The Child Support Act introduced a . .
CitedH v Belgium ECHR 30-Nov-1987
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses award – Convention proceedings
It is for . .
CitedBenthem v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Oct-1985
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient . .
CitedDenson, Regina (on the Application of) v Child Support Agency Admn 14-Feb-2002
The claimant challenged the validity of the 1991 Act under Human Rights law, particularly Article 1 of Protocol 1 and Article 8.
Held: ‘It is quite clear in my judgment that – putting the matter generally – both the statutory scheme and the . .
CitedPhillips v Peace 1996
The assessment of an absent parent’s liability under the Act is a mechanical one, achieved by the application of a formula. That assessment of liability does not reflect a number of potentially relevant factors, such as the availability to the . .
CitedDelaney v Delaney CA 22-May-1990
The court made an order for nominal periodical payments for children whose mother was receiving social security benefits. Nourse LJ said: ‘Whilst this court deprecates any notion that a former husband and extant father may slough off the tight skin . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromKehoe, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions HL 14-Jul-2005
The applicant contended that the 1991 Act infringed her human rights in denying her access to court to obtain maintenance for her children.
Held: The applicant had no substantive right to take part in the enforcement process in domestic law . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 March 2021; Ref: scu.194122