There are typically four stages to legal proceedings for a claim regarding an undisputed invoice:
A Letter Before Action
This is a letter to the debtor seeking the recovery of the debt within a specified time (usually 14 to 30 days). This letter is required as part of the requirements of Pre-Action Protocol under the Civil Procedure Rules and the contents must comply with the Protocol.
Our fixed fee charges for preparing A Letter Before Action is £250 plus VAT
If a standard ‘chaser letter’ is required following the Letter Before Action, we will charge £50 plus VAT.
Issuing a Claim
If the debt is not paid then legal proceedings are started by drafting a claim and then filing it with the Court so that the Court can issue and serve the claim on the debtor. It usually takes around 10 working days for the Court to issue and serve the claim.
We charge a fixed fee for drafting and filing your claim based on the amount of the debt:
*A Court Issued Claim is when we send the claim to the Court for issuing via post, as opposed to using the Money Claim Online Portal. For more information on Money Claim Online you can visit: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
After the claim is issued and deemed to be served on the Debtor, the Debtor will have 14 days to either i) admit the debt (in whole or part) ii) defend the claim or iii) acknowledge the claim and, by doing so, extend the time for defending the claim or admitting the debt by a further 14 days.
Obtaining a Judgment
If the debtor fails to file an acknowledgement to the claim or to file a defence on time, or makes any admission of the amount claimed, then a judgment can be entered against the debtor. Usually this involves requesting the Court to enter judgment for the debt claimed plus any interest that is legally due to you. It takes around 10 working days for the Court to issue a judgment following a request.
We charge a fixed fee for requesting judgment:
- £50 plus VAT for debts under £1,000
- £100 plus VAT for debts from £1,000 to £5,000
- £200 plus VAT for debts above £5,000 to £100,000
Following the entering of a judgment, if the debt payment is not made by the Court specified period of time, then you can usually proceed to enforce the judgment. There are various methods of enforcement and they are listed below along with details of the fixed fee we charge and the likely timescale.
*Please contact us for more information about each of these applications and what they mean
**A Statutory Demand is a written demand warning the debtor that if they do not pay the debt within a period of 21 days from being properly served with the demand, then you may initiate bankruptcy if the debtor is a person, or winding up proceedings if the debtor is a company. A Statutory Demand based on a Judgment can be a powerful, quick and effective way of recovering a debt.
In addition to the fees and costs mentioned above additional fees and costs may be incurred such as the costs of attendance at a Court hearing to determine enforcement applications and, or, to instruct a process server to serve documents on the debtor.
If at any stage a debt is disputed whether before judgment or after, or the method of enforcement is disputed, then we will charge on an hourly basis of £200 plus VAT per hour. We will discuss such costs with you before incurring them and provide you with a costs budget for the anticipated work as well as an estimate of the length of time the claim will take.
Attendance at a hearing either by a Solicitor or Counsel is likely to cost between £200 to £1,000 plus VAT depending on the circumstances.
A Process Server may be needed to serve Court documents and or a Statutory Demand. Their fees will normally be around £100 to £200 plus VAT to attempt service of documents on the debtor and to produce a certificate of service thereafter to confirm service of the document(s).
Note that timescales will vary from time to time and from Court to Court and are also dependent on and the availability of Judges and the Court’s administrative resources.