Official Receiver decides against Kids Company appeal

The Official Receiver will not appeal the High Court’s decision to dismiss the disqualification proceedings brought against former senior leaders of the collapsed charity Kids Company.

The charges brought against the charity’s founder and former chief executive, Camila Batmanghelidjh, and a group of former trustees of the defunct charity were rejected at the High Court in early February.

The OR, acting on behalf of the Insolvency Service, said it had taken legal advice following the judgment and decided it will not seek permission to appeal the decision.

The OR had been attempting to secure disqualification from senior positions for periods of up to six years against Batmanghelidjh, who it argued was a de facto director in her position as chief executive, and seven trustees. 

They included Alan Yentob, the former BBC creative director who chaired Kids Company for 18 years, and Richard Handover, the former chair and chief executive of the retailer WHSmith.

The OR’s case, in part, was that the trustees ran an unsustainable business model, and should have been able to see the charity was heading for financial meltdown.

However, the High Court rejected the OR’s case, and found that the charity might have survived if what turned out to be unfounded claims of abuse involving service users had not been made. 

A spokesperson for the Insolvency Service said today: “We have considered the judgment and will not be seeking permission to appeal.”

Following the proceedings, Third Sector learned that the Insolvency Service spent almost £740,000 on external legal costs during the 10-week trial.

A request made under the Freedom of Information Act by Third Sector found that the case had cost the Insolvency Service £738,909 in external legal fees, including VAT.

But lawyers involved in the case warned that the true cost to the taxpayer for the entirety of the case would be far higher.

One firm previously described the case as “ill-conceived” and a waste of taxpayers' money.

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