On the last working day before a trial was due to commence, the defendant made an application for an interim order under s252 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to assist him in obtaining an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). S252 provides that proceedings cannot be commenced or continued without the permission of the court.
The court decided to give permission for the trial to proceed. The court took the view that the defendant and his insolvency practitioner’s conduct had been at best cynical, and at worst, wholly unacceptable. In particular there was the last minute raising (for the first time) of the defendant’s potential insolvency; the lack of any information about the defendant’s financial position; the failure to provide documents; and the difficulties of ensuring any potential contact with the defendant.
Although the trial was in the Technology and Construction Court, the Judge held that he had jurisdiction to consider the claimant’s application for leave under section 252. The merits of the application were overwhelming and accordingly the claimant could continue with the trial.
This case demonstrates that even where an application for an IVA is made at the 11th hour, it may still be possible to continue with proceedings in court in an appropriate situation.
(1) Miss Hall and (2) Mr Shivers v Mr Jan Van Der Heiden  EWHC 537