Child maintenance calculation will be fairer after Smith v Smith, but it’s only half the battle, says Bradley Williams

How many lawyers does it take to work out the meaning of three words? Answer: 11 lawyers, one commissioner, three appellate judges and five Law Lords… oh, and five years.

Smith v Smith [2006] UKHL 35 concerned the treatment of Mr Smith’s income as a self-employed earner. Two options are possible roughly: either you look at the income after expenses (and take a high figure), or you factor in additionally the capital allowances, and a lower figure is generated. The child support officer took the low figure; the tribunal engaged in some extraordinary accounting exercises outside the bounds of any regulation and reached a low-ish figure; the Commissioner adopted the higher figure; the Court of Appeal disagreed and adopted the ...

Jean Yves


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