Amendments to Debt Respite Scheme regulations announced

posted on 04 May 2021, updated on 04 May 2021

The below document provides procedural rules for applications that may be made in the magistrates' courts under regulation of the Debt Respite Scheme regulations (referred to hereafter as the regulations).

It is intended to provide magistrates' courts with the power to deal with applications made by a creditor in the circumstances set out in regulation 7(2) of the regulations, which states that during a moratorium period a creditor may not, in relation to any moratorium debt, take any steps unless permission for the creditor to take the step has been given by a court where legal proceedings concerning the debt have been or could be issued or started.

Statutory instrument 2021 No 459 amends the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 (S.I. 1981/552) to provide that, where the permission of a magistrates' court is required for the purposes of regulation 7(2)(b) of the regulations, an application to a magistrates' court for such permission must be made by complaint in writing and the complainant must serve a copy of the summons on the relevant debt advice provider.

The debt respite scheme, also known as breathing space, comes into effect on the 4 May 2021 under the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1311). This change makes the procedural provision needed in respect of the debt respite scheme to enable applications by creditors who may wish to seek the permission of the court to take a step to enforce against an outstanding debt while a debtor is in a breathing space. The change will facilitate for example local authorities and the process at the magistrates' court to enforce council tax debt.

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