Debt Recovery

Commercially, bad debt can be dangerous and even life threatening to the survival of any business.  Every business has to exercise control over its debtors and when appropriate, take swift and effective action to make sure that debt remains manageable and cash flow stays positive.

This can sometimes adversely affect commercial relationships and a commercial approach to debt has to balance the competing interests of maintaining positive cash flow against the difficult issue of client retention. By spending a little time getting to know and understand your business and the commercial environment in which you operate, we can provide proactive, structured and cost-effective solutions to debt recovery.

Our Debt Recovery team has experience across all aspects of recovery and enforcement, including

  • Letters before action
  • Issue of County Court and High Court claims
  • Enforcement of judgments
  • Issue of statutory demands
  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Winding-up proceedings
  • Charging orders over land

We operate a state of the art Case Management system for debt recovery matters which allows us to monitor each case on a step by step basis in real time. Instructing us is a simple and straightforward task. All our instructions are commenced by completion of our standard debt recovery instruction sheet (please contact us for info) we are able to

  • Accept instructions by email, fax, or post
  • Guarantee that all instructions are dealt with within 24 hours from receipt
  • Ensure an acknowledgement is issued in relation to all instructions received
  • We have a fixed-fee debt recovery service so you will always know what costs are payable by you at every stage of the procedure.

DEBT RECOVERY PROCEDURE OVERVIEW

  1. Send formal letter before claim seeking payment of debt, interest and late payment compensation
  2. Issue proceedings
  3. Enter Judgment
  4. Enforcement of judgment

 

ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS

  1. An Order that the debtor or an officer of a debtor company attend at Court for questioning
  2. Instructing a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer
  3. Obtaining a Charging Order over a debtor’s property followed by an application for an Order for sale
  4. Third party debt Order to freeze and recover funds
  5. Attachment of earnings order

 

LATE PAYMENT OF COMMERCIAL DEBTS (INTEREST) ACT 1998

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 came into force on 16 March 2013, the regulations affect commercial contracts for the supply of goods and/or services entered into after that date.

The regulations seek to encourage a more supplier-friendly approach to payment terms i.e. to ensure that payments are made when they ought to be.

Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998 (the Act), parties to certain contracts are entitled to recover interest on any amounts owing to them that remain outstanding for certain specified periods of time. This can be summarised as follows:

From 16 March 2013, the regulations have amended the Late payment of Commercial debts (interest) Act so that any commercial contracts for the sale of goods or services will be subject to the certain new provisions on payment:

Where the parties do not agree a payment period for invoices, the default position is that interest will begin to accrue on any amounts outstanding for longer than 30 days from the later of:

  • Receipt of the supplier’s goods/services or,
  • Receipt of the supplier’s invoice or,

Verification/acceptance of the goods/services (provided the contract or any relevant statute includes a right of verification/acceptance)

Where the parties do agree a payment period for invoices, interest will accrue from the expiry of such agreed period provided that it does not exceed certain predefined limits.

These limits are:

For public authorities, the limit is set at the default 30-day limit above

For businesses, the limit is different – businesses are still able to agree payment terms of any length, but in the event that such terms are more than 30 days over the default limit set out above (i.e. a total of 60 days) businesses seeking the benefit of extended terms will need to be able to demonstrate that such period is not ‘grossly unfair’ to the supplier

Any payment terms in breach of these limits will result in interest accruing from the expiration of the 30-day statutory limit irrespective of the agreed payment terms.

The effects of the regulations are:

Supplier payment will need to be reviewed and such terms after 16 March 2013 should be within the new limits set out above.

Any payment terms in excess of these limits are likely to in the creditor being entitled to recover interest and charges from the expiration of the relevant limit.

Interest and charges will be recoverable at the following rates:

Interest will be at the statutory rate of 8% above the Bank of England Base Rate or such other rate agreed between the parties (provided that such rate is a substantial contractual remedy)

Every business is entitled to reclaim costs and interest from debtors on late payment of their commercial debts.  The level at which these can be reclaimed will either be at a minimum statutory rate or as agreed in your businesses terms and conditions.  Statutory interest can be reclaimed at the prevailing rate presently 8% above the bank of England base rate.

Costs for Late Payment Compensation can also be reclaimed under the 1998 Act and is linked to the size of the debt:

  • Up to £999.99 you can add £40
  • For debts between £1000 and £9999.99 you can add £70
  • On debts over £10,000 you can add £100

For claims below £10,000 in value there is no recovery of legal costs from an opponent other than the fixed costs to which we refer above ( which themselves are subject to amendment by the court from time to time) as all claims below £10,000 are deemed to be small claims

Where a matter is disputed it falls outside of our fixed fee debt recovery scheme and into our hourly rate charging structure or alternative charging method details of which are negotiated on a case by case basis.

Where a claim is issued and a defence is filed to that claim then such a claim as this will fall outside of our normal fixed fee debt recovery structure and will be subject to a Litigation retainer being entered into at our standard commercial litigation charges or if appropriate we will discuss with you alternative methods of funding such as:

1. DAMAGES BASED AGREEMENT

A Damages based agreement is where we undertake the case in return for a payment of a sum equivalent to 35-50% of the damages recovered dependent on the facts of each particular case.

2. CONDITIONAL FEE AGREEMENT

Alternatively we may agree, dependent on the facts of a particular case, to undertake a case on a Conditional fee agreement which provides for a success fee of between 25% and 100% of our hourly charge out rate. The success fee agreed is a sum of money which will be payable by you in circumstances where we are successful in winning your case.
If we obtain a judgment in your favour and the opponent does not or cannot pay, you will be still be liable for our fees and the agreed success fee as a contractual obligation so it is imperative that enquiries are made by you or if appropriate you may instruct us expressly to inquire as to the Solvency or otherwise of any intended opponent.

If we obtain a judgment in your favour and the opponent does not or cannot pay, you will be still be liable for our fees and the agreed success fee as a contractual obligation so it is imperative that enquiries are made by you or if appropriate you may instruct us expressly to inquire as to the Solvency or otherwise of any intended opponent.

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