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CA v DR (Schedule 1 Children Act 1989: Pension Claim) [2021] EWFC 21 – Schedule 1 award not extended to make pension provision for caring parent

Posted on 29 July 2021

The parties had a four-year old child, for whom the applicant made an application for financial provision under Schedule 1. The father's wealth was in the region of £190 million and he had an annual income of £3.8 million, although he only gave general disclosure, relying on the so-called "Millionaire's Defence" (i.e. that he had sufficient funds to meet any award the court might make). As part of her claim, the mother sought £40,000 a year to put towards a pension fund for herself. She argued that the court should revisit/update and/or restate the principles set out by the Court of Appeal in Re P [2003] EWCA Civ 837, where it had been held that a parent should not gain in their own right from a Schedule 1 application.

Roberts J did not accept that an order should be made in the terms sought by the mother. Re P was clear that the provision to be made was for the benefit of the child. Although a carer's allowance was appropriate, this was not intended to provide the caring parent with some form of compensation, or future nest-egg.

Melissa Lesson says:

'A further attempt by an unmarried mother, to seek financial provision for herself (this time in the form of £40,000 per annum pension provision) has been refused by the High Court, reinforcing and underscoring that Schedule 1 of the Children Act, is precisely that – for the children; beyond a 'carer's allowance', unmarried mothers cannot expect to receive the same level of financial provision as married mothers, regardless of the wealth of the father, which in this case was significant.'

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