D (A Child) (Appeal from the Registration of a Maintenance Order) [2022] EWCA Civ 64111 May 2022

Published: 23/05/2022 09:00


Lord Justice Lewison, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Baker.

Case concerning the extent of the right to appeal from the registration in England and Wales of a foreign child maintenance order.

M and F were married in the USA but made their home in England. Their only child (R) was born in England in 2013. In 2016, M was given permission to relocate with R to the USA.

A maintenance order was made on 11 February 2019 (and sealed on 3 April 2019) by the District Court, Elbert County, Colorado, USA. An application for the enforcement of this order was made to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Unit (REMO). REMO sent the enforcement application to the Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre (the MEBC) at Bury St Edmunds. The F was notified of this and sent a notice of appeal with his grounds.

The appeal was unsuccessful in the Family Court in Leyland. The F appealed again and the appeal was decided on the papers and refused. The judge determining the appeal on paper held that the F had no right of appeal at all from the registration of a maintenance order made by a court in the USA. The judge's brief reasoning stated that this was because no right to appeal was given by the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972 (MO(RE)A 1972) or the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (United States of America) Order 2007 (the 2007 Order).

In the Court of Appeal, Moylan LJ agreed with the submissions made by counsel for the Lord Chancellor on this issue. (The Lord Chancellor was an intervenor for the purposes of the appeal.) Moylan LJ’s view was that the provisions of the MO(RE)A 1972 and the 2007 Order were not applicable to this case having considered the wording of the 2007 Convention, MO(RE)A 1972, Part 4A of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, the FPR and the 2012 Regulations (the International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations).

Moylan LJ states at [37] of the judgment:

'In summary, having regard to the circumstances of this case and the legal framework as set out above, I agree with Mr Venables' that:
  • Registration of the Elbert County Order was applied for and was effected under the 2007 Convention;
  • The 2007 Convention, by article 23(5), provides for a right of appeal from the initial registration and, by article 23(1), permits such further right of appeal as exists under domestic law;
  • A further right of appeal is provided by the relevant legislation and rules and is to a circuit judge in the Family Court;
  • The judge was, therefore, wrong to decide that the appeal was governed by the MO(RE)A 1972 and the 2007 Order and was also wrong to decide that there was no right of appeal from the Leyland Order.’

Appeal allowed with LJ Baker and LJ Lewison agreeing.

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