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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In 2009 I applied for a school fee order against the father

Customer Question

In 2009 I applied for a school fee order against the father of my 4 children, who I was never married to for school fees for my 2 younger children who were then aged 9 and 7. We have been separated since 2003. We filed form Es and questionnaires and there was a 3 day hearing in 2011 which I won and the father was ordered to pay over £2000 / month index linked. The father had largely redacted information and was found to have lied about his earnings as he had claimed he only earned the minimum wage (£12,000 / annum) He was an IT contractor and worked in the UK through an Isle of Man based company via a Employee Trust Scheme (now illegal) and had claimed his large payments amounting to over £80,000 p a tax free were loans!!! Remarkably, on the very same day the school fee order was handed down, the father claimed to lose his job and 2 months later appealed against the order on the basis he was unemployed and unable to pay. I applied for enforcement of the order. Due to the length of time the courts take to process claims and the fact that the father has failed to attend court hearings on at least one occasion, the case is still pending. Despite the fact that the father has been working since march 2012, he has still made no payments towards the school fees. At the preliminary enforcement hearing I proposed the order be reduced to reflect his reduction in income from £80,000 to £60,000 per year, but he refused to pay more than £30 per year and for some reason the judge ordered an updated hearing of evidence. The father has claimed that I have undisclosed property and has apparently sent documents proving such to the court but not to me. The judge ordered questionnaires on the updated form Es and I was served with a 16 page questionnaire with over 180 questions that asks questions that were either dealt with in the previous 3 day hearing, or were previously struck out by Counsel for being irrelevant or are overly personal such as asking if and who I sleep with! There is also the question of costs that my Counsel assured me I would be awarded as I had won the case and the other party had heavily redacted his evidence such that it was largely impossible to follow. Cost submissions were made over 2 years ago and the judge has done nothing with them. I reminded him at the last hearing but nothing has happened since.

I wrote to the court in February this year noting all this and stating that the questionnaire was unreasonably long and I answered the questions to which I have the information, are current and relevant. I never received any response to my letter. I also advised my dates to avoid for the next hearing.

I never heard again from the court, but in July I received notification of a hearing during my advised dates to avoid in August and I immediately wrote to the court to advise them of this and request a vacation as I was on holiday. Again, I never received a reply to my letter.

At the beginning of September I received an order to fully answer the 180 question questionnaire (by Sept 19th) which I have not managed to do. I believe the hearing went ahead in my absence and the other party attended and persuaded the judge to order answers to the questionnaire.

I have written to the court to complain about their failure to respond and about scheduling hearings during my dates to avoid (the same thing happened in 2012), but I have not received any reply. I have no legal representation and I consider my position has been adversely prejudised because the court has not responded to my letters, has scheduled a hearing during my dates to avoid, failed to vacate, ordered against me in my absence and failed to ensure I am copied on any documents or evidence provided by the other party.

Both I and one of my children have significant health problems at present and it will take weeks to try to answer the questionnaire, some of the bank accounts in questions have not existed for over 15 years, others were closed over 7 years ago and I sent evidence of such to the court in my answers for the previous hearing. Other questions ask me to state if and who I sleep with (which I consider an invasion of my privacy and irrelevant) and questions about documents the other party has sent to the court but refuses to send to me so are impossble for me to try to answer.

The whole procedure is pointless as the father never pays and has evaded the CSA for over 10 years and runs constant Tribunals against them. I believe that if even if the Judge re-rders the father to make some form of contribution to the school fees, he will simply lunch another appeal and so it will carry on...

Can I appeal against having to answer the questionnaire? Can I appeal that the court has acted unfairly and improperly? What do I do with a court that fails to respond to communication? If I appeal, which form do I need? where do I file? what are the time scales? what reasons do I cite for wishing to appeal?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Have you filed a formal notice that you ar enow acting In Person with the Court?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, both the father and I have been acting in person since the finalisation of the school fee application in Sep 2011 when I won the corder for £2000 per month. Up until then through the last 5 years we both had legal representation. We have both filed such notices.

The previous legal history over the past 7 years includes a successful school fee lump payment in 2006 of £56,000 to support my eldest 2 children's private education (both now post school)

The father made a successful application and hearings for contact orders, parental responsibility riders, residence orders ( even though he lives in Bolton and the children could never reside with him). Contact / "residence" orders have now expired as he failed to turn up so much and only the youngest child (11 years) still attends for occasional overnight (1 per term) and 2 week summer holiday.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
When you did not receive a response to your request to adjourn the hearing - what action did you take?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Your question doesn't make sense. How can I give a date that I did not receive anything?


I have listed the dates I wrote to the court and told you that I have never received any response.