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Debt recovery

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How can we help you?

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation with our debt collection solicitors and arrange your free debt recovery health check.

Stephensons’ dedicated debt department advises clients ranging from asset based finance companies to large corporate, SME’s and owner managed businesses to private individuals. Our debt solicitors’ services include:

  • Business debt recovery
  • Debt recovery for private individuals
  • Debt recovery for financiers
  • International debt recovery

Click here to fill in our debt recovery instruction form to start the debt recovery process.

How to recover debt from an individual

Since 1 Oct 2017, there is a new pre-action protocol for recovering a debt from an individual (including a sole trader) but this doesn’t apply to business to business debts otherwise. The new protocol is known as a letter of claim.

Find out more about the letter of claim here.

If you do need to take further action in order to recover debt from an individual or a business, our experienced team are on hand to assist and do the legwork for you. 

How much is a debt recovery solicitor?

The cost of a debt recovery solicitor or specialist commercial dept collection team can vary, depending on the individual circumstances involved. If the debt isn’t disputed and no enforcement action is needed, the costs will be lower than when a debt dispute arises, and more legal work is required.

The below debt recovery costs apply where your claim relates to an unpaid invoice or invoices which are not disputed and enforcement action is not needed. If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs which might be on a fixed fee or an hourly rate. The fixed fees set out below do not include giving you any advice about your claim. Related third party costs, as detailed below, may also be payable for specific services.

Stage 1 - pre action

Letter before action

Is it a company debt or individual/sole trader?

Company: letter before action: £15 plus VAT

Individual/sole trader: letter of claim: £50 plus VAT

International: letter before action: £50 plus VAT

Letters before action sent to companies usually require the debtor to pay within 14 days, but letters to individuals provide for a 30 day period in accordance with guidelines laid down by the court and the time limit for payment in international letters before action may vary.

Pre action debt recovery and assistance

We can assist you in corresponding with your debtor to resolve disputes and recover your debt without the need for legal action. We offer fixed fees at each stage of this process, which might involve a second letter demanding payment or lengthy negotiations to reach a Settlement Agreement or repayment plan.

Fixed fees for pre action assistance

Second letter of demand: £25 plus VAT

Review and advice on response received from debtor: £50 plus VAT

Preparing detailed reply to debtor and final demand or offer of settlement: £75 plus VAT

Negotiating settlement/instalment plans and drafting settlement agreement: £150 plus VAT

Pre action advice on recovery

We offer a fixed fee service to review your invoices and contract and advise you on the most effective method of recovery; the options available to you; pre action protocol requirements and your right to receive interest and compensation under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.

Our fixed fee for this service is £100 plus VAT.

Stage 2 - court action

Court claims - issue claim

DebtCourt feeStephensons' fee
Up to £300£35£90 plus VAT
£300 - £500£50£90 plus VAT
£500 - £1,000£70£110 plus VAT
£1,000 - £1,500£80£150 plus VAT
£1,500 - £3,000£115£150 plus VAT
£3,000 - £5,000£205£150 plus VAT
£5,000 - £10,000£455£300 plus VAT
£10,000 - £200,0005% of claim£500 plus VAT

   

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding with a higher cost

Once the court has served the claim a debtor has 14 days in which to file a defence or enter an acknowledgement. After the 14 day period has expired a request can be made to the court for judgment to be entered providing the debtor has not filed an acknowledgement or a defence.

Request judgment - £50 plus VAT

If judgment is obtained but not paid then further action will be required to enforce payment.

Timescale: It usually takes the court about 10 working days to enter judgment following receipt of a request to enter judgment.

Additional services if necessary

Stage 3: enforcement

Once judgment has been obtained, enforcement action may be needed to recover the sums awarded by the court.

We will write to the debtor demanding payment of the judgment debt and where appropriate inform the debtor of the enforcement action to be taken if payment is not made.

Our fees for these initial letters are:

Letter demanding payment of judgment: £25 plus VAT

Letter to company debtor warning of intention to present winding up petition: £75 plus VAT

If you require a detailed advice on the enforcement options available to you we will provide that advice for a fixed fee of £35 plus VAT.

Enforcement proceedings

Writ of control - £75 plus VAT otherwise known as instructing a High Court Enforcement Officer to seize goods in satisfaction

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £66
  • HCEO fee - £90 payable if the warrant is not successful

Timescale: A writ of control may be applied for once judgment has been obtained but whether or not any recovery will be made depends on the debtor’s ability to pay and whether there are any assets which may be seized and whether a repayment agreement is entered into.  A typical enforcement by writ of control may take about 8-12 weeks from instruction. If we are required to enter into correspondence about the enforcement then the matter will no longer be treated as a fixed fee enforcement and additional charges will apply based on the applicable hourly rate set out in our retainer letter to you.

Warrant of execution - £75 plus VAT

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £110

Timescale: A warrant of execution may be applied for once judgment has been obtained but whether or not any recovery will be made depends on the debtor’s ability to pay and whether there are any assets which may be seized and whether a repayment agreement is entered into.  A typical enforcement may take about 8-12 weeks from instruction. If we are required to enter into correspondence about the enforcement then the matter will no longer be treated as a fixed fee enforcement and additional charges will apply. These charges will be based on an hourly rate set out in our retainer letter to you.

Attachment of earnings - £200 plus VAT

This is applicable in cases where the attachment of earnings is obtained without a hearing or further applications/revisions to deal with debtors who have not been found or their employment has changed. 

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £110

Time scale: An attachment of earnings order can sometimes be obtained within about 6-8 weeks of the application for an attachment of earnings order being issued by the court.

Charging order - £500 plus VAT (excluding hearing)

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £110
  • Agent’s fee for attendance at court if necessary - depends on location
  • Registration of charging order - £40
  • Search fee - £11 plus VAT

Time scale: An interim charging order can sometimes be obtained within about 2-3 weeks of application being made to court.  The timescale for the final charging order will depend upon whether the debtor files an objection and if the Court lists the case for a hearing.  Without any objections or a hearing it would be a further 4-6 weeks.

Third party debt order - £500 plus VAT

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £110
  • Agents fee for hearing - depends on location

Time scale: A third party debt order can sometimes be obtained within about 8-12 weeks of the application being issued by the court.

Order that debtor attends court for questioning/oral examination - £250 plus VAT

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £55
  • Agent fee for hearing if required - depends on location
  • Process server - up to £150 plus VAT

Time scale: The debtor will usually be required to attend court for questioning within about 8-12 weeks of the application being made.

Insolvency proceedings

Issue of statutory demand for companies and individuals - £500 plus VAT

Related third party costs

  • Process server fee - up to £250 plus VAT

Timescale: A statutory demand should only be made where the debt is not disputed for example where there is a judgment or an admission that the debt is due. A statutory demand can be prepared on receipt of instructions and is then usually sent to a process server for personal service. Personal service generally takes about 1-2 weeks via a process server.

Bankruptcy proceedings - £1,500 plus VAT

This is applicable to cases where the matter is determined at the first hearing, there are no issues with regards to service and is only applicable in cases whereby the debt is not disputed or if a court judgment has been obtained which has not been set aside or appealed.  

Related third party costs

  • Process server - up to £250 plus VAT
  • Court fee - £280
  • Deposit - £990
  • Agent for hearing - depends on location
  • Search fee - £11 plus VAT

Time scale: A bankruptcy order can usually be obtained within about 8-12 weeks of the petition being issued by the court.

Company winding up - £1,500 plus VAT

This is applicable to cases where the matter is determined at the first hearing and is only applicable in cases whereby the debt is not disputed or if a court judgment has been obtained which has not been set aside or appealed.  

Related third party costs

  • Court fee - £280
  • Petition deposit - £1,600
  • Process server - up to £250 plus VAT
  • Agent fees for hearing- depends on location
  • Advertisement in London Gazette - £101.52

Time scale: A winding up order can usually be obtained within about 8-12 weeks of the petition being issued by the court.

What qualifications do the team hold?

All debt recovery work is supervised by a qualified solicitor. Specific experience can be seen in the individual staff profiles.

If you want more information about how our commercial debt recovery solicitors can help you, please get in touch.

4.6out of 10
4.6 score on Trustpilot Based on count 1253

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