Postman appeals to court on deduction: Two families react to the pressure of maintenance rulings by government agency

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A POSTMAN whose pay has been targeted by the Child Support Agency yesterday went to the High Court in an attempt to protect his wages.

When Charles Edlin opens his pay packet this week, he expects to find only pounds 96 left of his weekly take-home wage of pounds 175 - because the rest has been taken by the CSA.

Mr Edlin had been paying his ex-wife Phyllis pounds 16 a week for the younger of their two sons, aged 13. But the CSA decided it was not enough - and increased the maintenance order to pounds 79.

Before Mr Edlin could appeal, the CSA obtained an attachment of earnings order requiring the Royal Mail to deduct the money from his pay. Yesterday, he asked a High Court judge to grant leave for a judicial review and an injunction against the CSA and his employers.

Mr Justice Laws adjourned the case until next Tuesday with a request that the CSA is represented in court 'to tell me what they have to say about it'.

The judge warned Mr Edlin the court could intervene only if the CSA had made an error in law or acted outside its powers and not simply because the judge might think the order was too harsh. He pointed out that Mr Edlin had the right of appeal to magistrates against the attachment order as well as the maintenance assessment.

Mr Edlin, 40, of Brixton, south London, conducted his own case with the help of his new partner, Wendy Derrig. They told the judge that a Citizen's Advice Bureau had advised them the attachment order, made on 25 November, was probably in force and the money would be deducted from Mr Edlin's wages this week. There was no time to appeal and so they had come to the High Court.