Attachment of Earnings
Attachment of earnings order.
53.— (1) For the purposes of this Part—
“attachment of earnings order” means an order directing that an employer deduct from the maintenance debtor’s earnings, at the times specified in the order, periodical deductions of the appropriate amounts specified in the order, having regard to the normal deduction rate and the protected earnings rate;
(a) the High Court, in respect of an application under this Part made by a person on whose application the High Court has made an antecedent order,
(b) the relevant Circuit Court, in respect of an application under this Part made by a person on whose application that court has made an antecedent order, and
(c) the District Court, in respect of an application under this Part made by—
(i) a person on whose application the District Court has made an antecedent order, or
(ii) a District Court clerk to whom payments are required to be made under an antecedent order;
“employer” includes a trustee of a pension scheme under which the maintenance debtor is receiving periodical pension benefits;
“ normal deduction rate ” means the rate at which the court considers it reasonable that the earnings to which the attachment of earnings order relates should be applied in satisfying the antecedent order, not exceeding the rate that appears to the court to be necessary for—
(a) securing payment of the sums falling due from time to time under the antecedent order, and
(b) securing payment within a reasonable period of any sums already due and unpaid under the antecedent order and any costs incurred in proceedings relating to the antecedent order payable by the maintenance debtor;
“ protected earnings rate ” means the rate below which, having regard to the needs of the maintenance debtor, the court considers it proper that the relevant earnings should not be reduced by a payment made in pursuance of the attachment of earnings order.
(2) The court may, on application to it on that behalf, make an attachment of earnings order if it is satisfied that the maintenance debtor is a person to whom earnings fall to be paid and that the order is desirable to secure payments under an antecedent order and any amendments, variations and affirmations of it.
(3) The court that makes an antecedent order, or an order that makes, varies or affirms on appeal an antecedent order, shall make an attachment of earnings order in the same proceedings if it is satisfied of the things mentioned in subsection (2).
(4) A person to whom an attachment of earnings order is directed shall pay the amounts ordered to be deducted—
(a) in the case of a relevant antecedent order that is an enforceable maintenance order, to the District Court clerk specified in the order for transmission to the maintenance creditor, and
(b) in any other case, as specified in the order, to the maintenance creditor or to the District Court clerk specified in the order for transmission to the maintenance creditor.
(5) Before deciding whether to make or refuse to make an attachment of earnings order, the court shall give the maintenance debtor an opportunity to make representations, and shall have regard to any representations made, relating to whether the maintenance debtor—
(a) is a person to whom earnings fall to be paid, and
(b) would make the payments to which the relevant order relates.
(6) The court shall include in an attachment of earnings order the particulars required so that the person to whom the order is directed may identify the maintenance debtor.
(7) Payments under an attachment of earnings order are in lieu of payments of the like amount under the antecedent order that have not been made and that, but for the attachment of earnings order, would fall to be made under the antecedent order.