Test case to probe CSA competence

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is being sued by a single mother who alleges she lost her home due to the "incompetence" of the organisation.

Considered to be a test case that could have implications for thousands of families, the action is being brought by mother-of-three Denise Rowley.

Following her divorce in 2000, Ms Rowley states that she was obliged to live with her family as she was unable to afford the upkeep of her former home without maintenance payments.

Left vacant, the property deteriorated and was subsequently sold at much less than its "real value", raising the question of whether the CSA owes a duty of care to those on whose behalf it claims maintenance.

The English family lawyers’ group Resolution has added its weight to her case because it considers the action "of such significance".

CSA services in Scotland are organised by the Scotland and North East England Business Unit based in Falkirk, one of six units across the UK that attempt to carry out child maintenance assessments for separated families.