In Kaye v Lees (2023) EWHC 152 (KB), the High Court gave extremely important guidance with regards to the new Debt Respite Scheme Regulations 2020.

Mr Kaye was owed a very significant sum of money from Ms Lees dating back to a Judgment given in 2019. Mr Kaye obtained a Charging Order over Ms Lees’ property and then attempted to evict Ms Lees under an Order for Sale. Ms Lees repeatedly thwarted all attempts to evict her and the recent application was in respect of her fifth Mental Health Crisis Moratorium. The history of this case had involved various Moratoria coming to an end and then new ones being granted within a day or so of termination of the previous Moratorium making it extremely difficult for Mr Kaye to enforce the Judgment.

In this application, HHJ Dight CBE (sitting as a High Court Judge) found that Ms Lees did not satisfy the criteria for initiation of a Mental Health Crisis Moratorium as her mental disorder was unlikely to have been of a serious nature and further, she was not receiving “crisis, emergency or acute” care or treatment in hospital or in the community as defined by the Regulations. The Judge, therefore, found that there had been a material irregularity. In addition to this, the Judge also found that Mr Kaye had been unfairly prejudiced by the application and, therefore, proceeded to cancel the Moratorium.

Significantly, in order to prevent Ms Lees from seeking further Breathing Space or Mental Health Crisis Moratoria, the Judge granted an Injunction prohibiting her from applying for any further Moratoria for a period of 2 months. This useful guidance was the first from the High Court under these complex Regulations. The full Judgment is available here.

Simon Braun was solicitor for Mr Kaye and instructed Philip Judd of 3 Hare Court to appear on behalf of Mr Kaye, led by Kerry Bretherton KC of Tanfield Chambers.

Should you have any queries regarding the Breathing Space Regulations, please do not hesitate to contact Simon Braun on 01582 466167