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Court of Appeal upholds limits on child maintenance for adults


In Siddiqui v Siddiqui the Court of Appeal was faced with a rolled-up application for permission to appeal from the judgment of Sir James Munby which denied the Claimant, a solicitor in his early 40s, the right to claim child maintenance from his parents.  

Adult children may be entitled to child maintenance in certain circumstances. However, no such entitlement arose under the various statutory schemes for the Claimant, in particular because his parents were neither separated nor divorced.  The Claimant claimed that this rule was discriminatory under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights - thus raising the possibility that all adults could apply for child maintenance.

The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment below, finding that there was no discrimination.  Unusually, the Court dismissed the Claimant’s application on the ground that he did not have a relevant “status” under Article 14, that he was not in an analogous position to those adults who might receive child benefit, and that his claim did not fall within the ambit of a relevant right. As such, the judgments demonstrate that there are indeed limits to the engagement of Article 14, limits which are rarely found in the caselaw.

Given these findings, the Court of Appeal did not need to consider the justification for any discrimination, although it made clear that any such discrimination would be justified.

The detailed judgments of the Court are here.

The case has attracted significant media and academic interest.

Jennifer MacLeod acted as junior counsel for the successful Respondents alongside specialist family law counsel.  She was instructed by Clintons.