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Robinson v The Child Support Agency [2006] EWCA Civ 514

Application for permission to appeal an order refusing judicial review of the action of the CSA. Application refused.

The main interest is that the appeal judge reiterates the principle that judicial reviews must be pursued promptly.



Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWCA Civ 514






Royal Courts of Justice


London, WC2

Wednesday, 15th March 2006

B E F O R E:


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(DAR Transcript of

Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited

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The appellant appeared in person.

The respondent did not appear and was not represented.

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(As Approved by the Court)

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Crown copyright©

1. LORD JUSTICE PILL: This is an application for permission to appeal against an order of Wilkie J, made on 21 October 2005. Wilkie J refused Mr Timothy Robinson permission to bring a claim for judicial review involving the conduct of the Child Support Agency. It was a renewed application, permission having been refused on paper by Gibbs J.

2. In 1989 the applicant had a short relationship with Sarah Reeve who later gave birth to a son, Jordan Reeve, on 21 December 1989. Miss Reeve brought proceedings under the Guardianship of Minors Act 1971 before the Blackpool Magistrates' Court and the applicant did not oppose an order adjudging him to be the father of the child and granting custody to Miss Reeve. The applicant was represented at those proceedings. A nominal maintenance order was made and the applicant was later advised by the magistrates' court that he need not actually pay the nominal sum. In 1995 the Child Support Agency became involved because Miss Reeve was receiving state benefits and the agency assessed the applicant as having to pay a substantial sum by way of maintenance, £13.93 a week, and he has repeatedly objected to that direction on the grounds that he does not accept that he is the father. The CSA have maintained the position that they accept the 1991 Order at face value and while that order is persisting, they have power to make a claim against the applicant.

3. The applicant has made a series of appeals and clearly feels very strongly about the question. An application for judicial review was made in June 2005. That is many years after the Child Support Agency became involved. The applicant's complaint is about the conduct of the CSA and the way in which they have dealt with his denial of paternity.

4. Gibbs J on a consideration of the papers could find no merit in the claim, having regard to the jurisdiction of the court in judicial review, and refused the application. Following the oral hearing before Wilkie J, permission was refused on the basis that the application was out of time, the complaint being about decisions from 1990 to the year 2000.

5. In a short judgment Wilkie J stated at paragraph 3:

"The time limit for seeking judicial review is a short one. A claim for judicial review has to be made promptly and in any event no longer than three months after the decision complained of. While the court can in some circumstances extend the time, a situation such as this where it is clear that an extension of time between those periods of fifteen and a half years and four years nine months, would be required and where it is apparent that the matters of complaint have been the subject of other proceedings in other courts. In my judgment it is not a case where the court should indulge Mr Robinson by granting him very substantial periods of extension of time. That in my judgment and without in any way examining the merits or otherwise of his complaints I am constrained to refuse permission to apply for judicial review."

6. The judge noted, as I have done, that the applicant feels extremely aggrieved at the various decisions complained of.

7. Mr Robinson has appeared in person before this court, as he did before Wilkie J. The point of law involved, he submits, is one of jurisdiction, jurisdiction being that of the CSA. He submits that if permission to appeal is refused the court is endorsing contempt of court, fraud, attempts to perverse the course of justice, libel and false imprisonment. To refuse a remedy would be lead to social and domestic chaos. The judges in the courts, he submits, are thereby shown to be mere puppets of the government. He submits that the CSA have told lies. They had no jurisdiction to make the order they have. The guardian of the child gave false information to them and they have applied the law wrongly. He has told me, as he told Wilkie J, of the severe impact which the CSA's orders against him have had on his domestic life, and on the lives of his children.

8. I find it quite unarguable that upon a full hearing this court would grant the relief sought. I agree with Wilkie J's reason for refusing permission and with the reasoning of Wilkie J to which I have referred. I do not propose to repeat it. I adopt the way in which he put it. That being so, I have not gone further into the merits of the case and do not proceed to do so, save to comment that the very serious and general allegations which Mr Robinson makes both against the courts and against the CSA have not been supported by any detailed reference to the documents. I repeat that I understand his strength of feeling.

9. Judicial review is a valuable remedy but one which must be taken at an appropriate time. There is a public interest in matters of this sort. If they are to be raised by way of judicial review, they should be raised promptly. For the reasons I have given, this application for an extension of time and for further relief on appeal must be refused.

Order: Application refused.