Debt recovery

We are commercial debt recovery experts whose extensive knowledge and experience of debt legislation can help in maximising your debt recovery.

Our 3 stage debt recovery service can improve your cash flow by recovering unpaid invoices, with interest.

Stage 1: Letter of Claim

In most cases a letter of claim from a solicitor can result in payment. We charge a fixed fee of £100 plus vat for this service. If this letter results in full payment, there is no further charge. We can issue a letter of claim within 1-2 working days of receiving your formal instructions.

Stage 2: Court proceedings

If the debtor fails to make payment following the letter of claim, or defaults on any payment plan, it will be necessary to commerce court proceedings and obtain a County Court Judgment (‘CCJ’) against them. Our charges are as follows:

Debt valueOur fee
 Up to £1,000 £100 plus vat
 £1,001 - £5,000 £200 plus vat
 £5,001 - £10,000 £350 plus vat
 £10,001+ 5% of debt plus vat

A court fee is also payable to start litigation. The court fee can be recovered from the debtor.

Link: See the court fees applicable to your situation

Bear in mind that interest and compensation may take the value of the debt into a higher charge banding.

Our fee includes reviewing documentation, undertaking appropriate searches, drafting and issuing a claim. If the debtor fails to respond to the Claim Form or offer a defence, we will apply to the court to enter judgment in default.

We typically can start court proceedings within a week of receipt of your ‘Stage 2’ instructions. Once issued, the time taken to obtain a judgment is typcially between four and six weeks.

Stage 3: Enforcement

If, despite a county court judgment being obtained, payment is still not forthcoming, it will be necessary to enforce the judgment to recover the debt.

When enforcing a judgment, there are a variety of options open to you. We can obtain an attachment of earnings order, commence bankruptcy proceedings or instruct a High Court Enforcement Agent to seize the debtor’s goods.

As a guide, our fees for ‘Stage 3’ start from £200 plus vat and, on average, are £750 plus vat. Our fees cover our advice on the most appropriate course of action, instruction of relevant enforcement officers and oversight of any recovery of outstanding debt.

The fee you will pay us will depend on:

  • the ease of locating the debtor and enforcing any judgment
  • the degree of urgency
  • the professional level of the member of staff looking after your case

Our fees for debt recovery are based on the following hourly rates: paralegal £100 plus vat; solicitor £170 plus vat; partner-level solicitor £300 plus vat.

The most common form of enforcement is to instruct the High Court Enforcement Agent (a Writ of Control). This involves the Agents visiting the debtor and, if they don’t pay, taking away and selling their goods. If the Agents are successful, they get paid by the debtor. If they fail to recover (for example, if the debtor vanishes or goes bankrupt), they charge an abortive fee. For debts under £600, the method of enforcement is the County Court Bailiff.

Link: See the court fees for different methods of enforcement

If your debtor has ‘vanished’, we can use tracing agents to try and find them. Typically their charges are in the region of £100 plus vat.

Enforcement times vary depending upon the route taken, but typically can take in the region of 4 - 8 weeks from receipt of your ‘Stage 3’ instructions.

Our expertise

Your matter will be looked after by a specialist paralegal overseen by a solicitor. In some, more complex cases, a solicitor or partner-level solicitor will undertake work directly for you.

All our staff working on debt recovery matters focus exclusively on resolving disputes on behalf of businesses and individuals and attend regular training and development courses concerning this aspect of law. Click on the red 'Meet the team' button on this page for more details about our advisers dealing with debt recovery.

Tailored approach

We can provide a tailored service to tie in with a business’s existing in-house credit control policy to provide a seamless transition between creditor and solicitors.

Our Team has the added benefit of being part of Harrowells’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department and can therefore offer clients the full expertise of that department should a debt recovery matter evolve into a more complex litigation matter.

Click on the buttons below to make a call to any of our offices or to make an email enquiry and find out how we can help you.