Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010

F19 [ Failure to make payments to be contempt of court

52A

52A. (1) Subject to this section it shall be contempt of court for a maintenance debtor to fail to make a payment due under an antecedent order.

(2) As respects a contempt of court arising pursuant to this section, a judge of the District Court shall, subject to this section, have such powers, including the power to impose a sanction, as are exercisable by a judge of the High Court in relation to contempt of court in proceedings before the High Court.

(3) Where a payment under an antecedent order made by the District Court has not been made, the maintenance creditor may apply to the District Court clerk concerned for the issue of a summons directing the maintenance debtor to appear before the District Court.

(4) A summons referred to in subsection (3) shall

(a) be issued by the District Court clerk concerned,

(b) contain a statement that failure to make a payment in accordance with the order concerned constitutes a contempt of court and giving details of the consequences of the court finding that a contempt of court has taken place including in particular the possibility of imprisonment,

(c) state that the maintenance debtor may be arrested if he or she fails to appear before the District Court as directed in the summons, and

(d) be served on the maintenance debtor personally, or in such other manner authorised by a judge of the District Court.

(5) If the maintenance debtor fails, without reasonable excuse, to appear before the court in answer to the summons, the judge of the District Court, on the application of the maintenance creditor, shall, if satisfied that the debtor was served with the summons, issue a warrant for the arrest of the maintenance debtor.

(6) A maintenance debtor arrested pursuant to a warrant issued under subsection (5) shall be brought as soon as practicable before the District Court.

(7) Where a maintenance debtor is arrested and brought before the District Court under subsection (6) , the judge shall fix a new date for the hearing of the summons and direct that the creditor be informed by the District Court by notice in writing of the date so fixed, and shall explain to the debtor in ordinary language

(a) that he or she is required to attend before the court at the date next fixed for the hearing of the summons,

(b) that failure to attend may in itself constitute a contempt of court and the consequences of such contempt, including in particular the possibility of imprisonment, and that such contempt and the consequences which may follow are in addition to the consequences arising by reason of failure to make a payment under the antecedent order, and

(c) that he or she is entitled to apply for legal advice and legal aid under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 .

(8) At the hearing of the summons, before hearing evidence from any party the judge shall explain to the debtor in ordinary language

(a) the consequences, and in particular the possibility of imprisonment, which may follow a failure to make a payment in accordance with an antecedent order, and

(b) unless the maintenance debtor has already been so informed under subsection (7) , that he or she is entitled to apply for legal advice and legal aid under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 .

(9) On the hearing of the summons, having given to the maintenance debtor the explanations referred to in subsection (8) , having given the maintenance debtor an opportunity to apply for legal advice and legal aid, and having heard such evidence as may be adduced by the maintenance creditor and the maintenance debtor, if the judge is satisfied that the payment concerned has not been made, and

(a) that the failure to make the payment concerned is due to

(i) the inability of the maintenance debtor to make the payment concerned by reason of a change in his or her financial circumstances which occurred since the antecedent order or an order varying that order was last made (whichever is the later), or

(ii) some other reason not attributable to any act or omission of the maintenance debtor,

the judge may, where he or she believes that to do so would improve the likelihood of the payment concerned being made within a reasonable period, adjourn the hearing

(I) to enable the outstanding payment to be made, or

(II) to enable an application to be made for an attachment of earnings order under section 53 ,

(b) that the failure to make the payment concerned is due to the inability of the maintenance debtor to make the payment concerned by reason of a change in his or her financial circumstances which occurred since the antecedent order or an order varying that order was last made (whichever is the later) the judge may, where the antecedent order was made by the District Court, treat the hearing as an application to vary the antecedent order, and having heard evidence as to the financial circumstances of both the maintenance debtor and the maintenance creditor, make an order varying the antecedent order.

(10) Where on the hearing of the summons, having given to the maintenance debtor the explanations referred to in subsection (8) , having given the maintenance debtor an opportunity to apply for legal advice and legal aid, and having heard such evidence as may be adduced by the maintenance creditor and the maintenance debtor, the judge is satisfied that the payment concerned has not been made and that the failure to make the payment concerned is not due to

(a) the inability of the maintenance debtor to make the payment concerned by reason of a change in his or her financial circumstances which occurred since the antecedent order or an order varying that order was last made (whichever is the later), or

(b) some other reason not attributable to any act or omission of the maintenance debtor,

the judge may treat the failure by the maintenance debtor to make the payment concerned as constituting contempt of court and the judge may deal with the matter accordingly.

(11) Where a maintenance debtor to whom subsection (7) applies does not attend court on the date fixed for the hearing of the summons the judge may treat such failure to attend court as constituting contempt of court and the judge may deal with the matter accordingly.

(12) In this section financial circumstances means, in relation to a person

(a) the amount of the person s annual income,

(b) the aggregate value of all property (real and personal) belonging to the person,

(c) the aggregate of all liabilities of the person including any duty (moral or legal) to provide financially for members of his or her family or other persons,

(d) the aggregate of all monies owing to the person, the dates upon which they fall due to be paid and the likelihood of their being paid, and

(e) such other circumstances as the court considers appropriate.

(13) This section does not apply unless the antecedent order concerned was actually made by the District Court. ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F19

Inserted (18.01.2016) by Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (9/2015), s. 146, S.I. No. 12 of 2016.