We provide a no cost initial case review to establish whether or not we can help you in your debt recovery action. Our lawyers specialise in recovering unpaid debts from individuals and companies so we know the best way to get your unpaid debts recovered quickly which may involve insolvency proceedings, litigation or settlement out of court.
To date, we have a 100% success rate and all of the petitions we have issued have been resolved in our client’s favour. This has also meant that the petitioned company or individual has paid our fees. Luckily for our clients this means instructing us to pursue their bad debts has ultimately recovered the sums owed plus interest with a refund of their legal costs.
Do I need to follow the pre-action protocol for debt claims?
If you are a creditor (business, sole trader or public body) claiming payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader) then you are obliged to comply with the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims, which came into force from 1 October 2017.
This does not apply to business to business debts (unless the person who owes money is a sole trader).
The creditor must be a “business” claiming payment of a debt from an individual. “Business” is not defined in the Debt Protocol, therefore a creditor must be advised whether they are considered a business or not- guidance on this point is elaborated upon in Financial Services Authority v Anderson  EWHC 599 (Ch).
What are the sanctions for not complying with the pre-action protocol for debt claims?
If you as a creditor business is owed money by an individual debtor (for example for unpaid fees), it is recommended that you seek legal advice from specialist debt recovery solicitors. Legal advice is recommended given that failure to follow the specific pre-action steps could lead to the court imposing sanctions on the non-compliant party.
If a debtor owes a debt why should a creditor follow the pre-action protocol?
The pre-action debt protocol is designed to promote early communication between the creditor and the debtor which enables an early exchange of information about the debt which will assist in identifying what the issues are in dispute.
Following the pre-action protocol may also be a more cost-effective way of securing payment of a debt without going to court. Following the pre-action protocol also means other options can be pursued first before the nuclear option of court proceedings, such as agreeing to a repayment plan or utilising alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation or without prejudice discussions.
Letter of Claim in debt recovery claims
Before court proceedings are commenced, a creditor should consider sending a Letter of Claim to the debtor.
The Letter of Claim should contained the following information:
- the amount of the debt;
- whether interest or other charges are continuing;
- where the debt arises from an oral agreement, who made the agreement, what was agreed (including, as far as possible, what words were used) and when and where it was agreed;
- where the debt arises from a written agreement, the date of the agreement, the parties to it and the fact that a copy of the written agreement can be requested from the creditor;
- where the debt has been assigned, the details of the original debt and creditor, when it was assigned and to whom;
- if regular instalments are currently being offered by or on behalf of the debtor, or are being paid, an explanation of why the offer is not acceptable and why a court claim is still being considered;
- details of how the debt can be paid (for example, the method of and address for payment) and details of how to proceed if the debtor wishes to discuss payment options;
- the address to which the completed Reply Form should be sent;
- enclose an up-to-date statement of account for the debt, which should include details of any interest and administrative or other charges added;
- enclose the most recent statement of account for the debt and state in the Letter of Claim the amount of interest incurred and any administrative or other charges imposed since that statement of account was issued, sufficient to bring it up to date;
- where no statements have been provided for the debt, state in the Letter of Claim the amount of interest incurred and any administrative or other charges imposed since the debt was incurred;
- enclose a copy of the Information Sheet and the Reply Form at Annex 1 to the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims; and
- enclose a Financial Statement form (an example Financial Statement is provided in Annex 2 to the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims – the Statement is part of the Standard Financial Statement and can be downloaded from sfs.moneyadviceservice.org.uk).
Court Proceedings for debt claims
If after following the pre-action protocol (and submitting a Letter of Claim) or after issuing a statutory demand, the debtor has still neither paid the debt that is due nor negotiated a repayment plan (or responded at all), then the next option would be to issue a County Court claim against the debtor.
The debtor will then have 14 days in which to respond to the Court (i.e. acknowledging service of the claim and notifying the Court whether they intend to contest the debt or not).
How we can help you
Our team is made of highly experienced and tough negotiators that will fight to get the best results for our clients. We have years of experience of negotiating with creditors and debtors alike from large multi-million pound cases to smaller matters with equally large consequences for the person involved.
We represent you at Debt Recovery Court Hearings
Although we are based in the legal heart of London, operating as the only law firm based in the historic Middle Temple Chambers (Inns of Court), we provide comprehensive nationwide coverage to represent you at any debt recovery hearing at any Court. Our team of solicitors and barristers will prepare the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim for you.
We will represent you at the debt recovery hearing and will provide our own barristers or external local counsel to any hearing across the country.
Not based in London? We provide nationwide representation
That does not matter, we will represent you no matter where you are based in England or Wales.
If you contact us through our contact form, by email or by phone, one of our debt recovery team members will contact you by phone to discuss your matter and assess whether we can help you.
If we can, we will arrange a conference with a senior member of our debt recovery team. This meeting will take place either in person or using our telephone conference facilities or via Skype if you prefer. Therefore, no matter where you are based in England or Wales we can represent you.
Instruct Specialist Debt Recovery Lawyers
We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers and based in the Middle Temple Inns of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. We are experts in dealing with matters surrounding insolvency in particular issues. Our team have unparalleled experience at serving statutory demands, negotiating with debtors/creditors, setting aside statutory demands and both issuing and defending winding up petitions vigorously at the Royal Courts of Justice (Rolls Building), or the relevant High Court District Registry or County Court with jurisdiction under the Insolvency Rules.