Whatever the nature or size of your business, whether you are an individual or a company, it is a fact of life that in today’s world and particularly with the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic, you may be faced with the unfortunate situation where your clients or customers do not pay monies due to you. This can include:
- Monies due under an invoice for the supply of goods or services. If you have sold your product(s) or provided a service, you are entitled to be paid for this. If no such payment is made by your customer, you will need to consider what steps you can take to recover the sums due and owing to you or your business.
- Monies due under an agreement. If you believe you are entitled to monies under the terms of a business agreement such as a Partnership Agreement, Shareholders Agreement, Joint Venture Agreement or Loan Agreement, and these monies are not paid you will need advice upon what steps you can take to recover the sums due.
Whilst the recovery of debt can be a frustrating process and can cause significant financial difficulties (and invariably an inefficient use of business time), our team of commercial dispute resolution solicitors can assist you in its recovery.
The steps which we will take to assist you are as follows:
- liaise with you to understand your matter (to include any commercial sensitivities involved);
- advise you on the strength of your claim;
- prepare and send a Letter Before Action, giving the Debtor a set amount of time to make payment; and
- if no payment is forthcoming, or an unsatisfactory response is received from the debtor, assist you to recover the debt.
Broadly, there are two ways to proceed to recover a debt:
- If you consider the debt to be undisputed and/or the Debtor has admitted it, you can proceed by serving a Statutory Demand upon the Debtor (in the case of an individual who owes you more than £5000 or a company which owes you more than £750). If the Debtor does not make payment under the Demand within the prescribed period of 21 days, you can then present a Bankruptcy Petition (individual) or a Winding Up Petition (company). The Petition will then be determined by a judge at a hearing. Once a Bankruptcy Order or Winding Up Order has been made, this does not guarantee recovery of the debt. In such circumstances, all the Debtor’s unsecured creditors will be treated equally and will be paid a proportion of the Debtors assets (if any) available for unsecured creditors.
If the debt may be or is subject to a dispute (or if it falls below the limit for presentation of a Bankruptcy Petition or Winding Up Petition), you should commence a claim in the courts. The Debtor will have the opportunity to defend the claim. If it is denied and defended the court will then determine the matter at a hearing or trial unless the parties are able to agree to settle the claim at an earlier stage. In respect of such proceedings there is a duty on the parties to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution.
We can advise and assist you in relation to your recovery options and, if necessary, issue court proceedings to include (ultimately) the enforcement of any judgment you may be awarded by the courts. Contact our Dispute Resolution team for more information.
For details of our fixed costs and other costs in debt recovery see here.