Our solicitors have the knowledge and skill to advise and assist you or your business on all aspects of personal debt recovery.
If you or your business is owed money by others, we can help you recover the debt. Where possible we will endeavour to do this without the need to issue Court Proceedings. However, sometimes Court Proceedings are unavoidable, and if they become necessary we can assist you by issuing and conducting the necessary Court Proceedings to obtain a County Court Judgment against the debtor. If required, we also work with enquiry agents to track and trace missing or absent debtors and try to ascertain whether they have any assets from which to satisfy the debt.
If an individual owes a sum of £5,000 or more you may be able to apply to have him adjudged bankrupt. When a person is adjudged Bankrupt their assets are vested in the Official Receiver who will call in the same and then make payment of any outstanding debts. To start this process, you must first serve a formal demand for the money in a recognised form, known as a Statutory Demand.
If a company registered in England or Wales owes you a sum of more than £750.00 or more you can apply to have the company compulsorily wound up. Where a winding up order is made a liquidator will be appointed to call in off the company’s assets and then make payment of any outstanding debts. To start this process, you should first serve a formal demand for the money in a recognised form, known as a Statutory Demand.
In addition to the above, our experienced Insolvency Specialist Partner Paul Nathan can also advise in respect various other insolvency scenarios, such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) and Member’s Voluntary Liquidation.
What are the fees for bringing a claim to recover a debt?
Please click here for answer to this FAQ
What is a County Court Judgment?
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a Court Order requiring a person to make payment of a certain amount of money within a certain period of time. Unless the amount is paid in full, a CCJ will stay on a person’s credit rating for a period of six years. CCJs often make it difficult for an individual to deal with their financial affairs (i.e. take out loans or credit cards or to rent a property) and the risk of a CCJ can be an incentive for someone to pay an outstanding debt.
Can I enforce a County Court Judgment?
Once a County Court Judgment has been obtained we can also help you take the necessary steps to enforce the Judgment if the debtor still fails to make the necessary payment(s). The most common methods of enforcement are as follows:
Taking control of goods - We can assist you apply for a Warrant or Writ of Control and instruct specialist enforcement officers to take control of and recover goods belonging to the debtor in satisfaction of the outstanding debt.
Obtaining a Charging Order - This is when a debt can be secured against land or other property owned by the debtor and is usually suitable for larger debts. Once a Charging Order is obtained, the debtor will not be able to deal with the charged property without first making payment of the outstanding debt. Alternatively, and if appropriate, we may be able to obtain a Court Order forcing a sale of the charged property with the proceeds of sale being used towards payment of the outstanding debt.
Third Party Debt Orders - This is an Order against a Third Party (usually a bank or building society) who is in possession of money belonging to the debtor (i.e. money in a bank account). The Order can require the Third Party bank to pay money directly from a debtor’s bank account to you in settlement of the outstanding debt (assuming there is enough money in the account).
Attachment of Earnings Order - This is an Order under which a person’s employer is required to deduct money from the debtor’s salary and pay it to you in settlement of the outstanding debt.
Bankruptcy Proceedings (see Personal Insolvency below).
What is a Statutory Demand?
A Statutory Demand is a formal demand for payment of a debt. It must be personally served on either an individual, or a business at its registered address. Once a Statutory Demand has been served, time becomes of the essence. The debtor has 21 days from the date of service to make payment in full. Alternatively, in the case of an individual, the debtor has 18 days from the date of service to make a Court Application to Set the Statutory Demand Aside. If the debtor is a company, then that company has 21 days from the date of service to make a Court Application to prevent a winding up petition being presented.
If there is no payment and no Application, the law will deem the person incapable of paying the debt. You may then present a Bankruptcy Petition or Winding Up Petition as appropriate, which will be heard by the Court at a hearing. Assuming the correct process is then followed (which can be very technical but something we can assist with) a Court may then make a Bankruptcy or Winding Up Order at the hearing.
I’ve been served with a Statutory Demand, what can I do?
If you are served with a Statutory Demand, you must respond within either the 21 day or 18 day limits stated above. In circumstances where you do not believe any money is owed, then we can assist in making the necessary Application for it to be Set Aside or to prevent a winding up petition from being presented.
Can a Bankruptcy be annulled?
If a Bankruptcy Order has been made against you in circumstances where you to not think it should have been, we may be able to assist in making an Application to Annul the Bankruptcy. Usually this will usually require the original debt and all legal costs incurred by the creditors and Official Receiver be paid in full.
Can I recover my legal costs?
The general rule in Court Proceedings is that the losing party pays the winning party’s costs. If you are successful in obtaining a County Court Judgment, or you successfully defend a County Court Judgment, prima facie you are entitled to recover your costs from the other party. However, this general rule comes with a few caveats, of which two are particularly notable.
Firstly, you can never expect to recover all of your costs pound for pound. In most cases, you can expect to recover approximately 60 to 70 % of your legal costs. If the other party’s conduct during the Court Proceedings has been particularly bad, we may be able to convince the Court to award you up to 80 to 85% of your costs.
Secondly, the general rule on costs does not apply in cases allocated to the Small Claims Track. This will include all claims with a financial value of less than £10,000.00. In these cases, you will not usually be awarded any of your costs, even if you are successful in your claim.
Call to action
If you are owed money or being pursed for a debt, we can advise you on any claim or assist in negotiating a realistic and affordable payment plan. Please contact a member of our despite resolution team on 020 7935 3522 to see how we can help.