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Debt recovery

Because it’s your money.

Through our award-winning debt collection service, we are committed to securing the money you are owed. We recognise even a business with a thorough and robust system for monitoring cash flow and chasing overdue invoices will sometimes need to resort to legal action for debt recovery.

Our heritage and the reputation we continue to build for delivering a commercially-aware, pragmatic service is important to us, and we understand what matters to you is our ability to provide the right outcomes for your business, today and tomorrow.

"Wright Hassall has good 'strength in depth' with growing experience in government debt, e-commerce portfolios and banking."

Legal 500

If you have been contacted by us in relation to an outstanding debt 

If you have received a call, SMS or letter from us, it is important that you contact us so that we can discuss the matter and reach a resolution with you. Please see our dedicated pages for more information. 

Pre-legal debt collections and recovery

Legal action should always be seen as the final step in debt collection. There are other alternatives steps to consider resolving the issue before embarking on a legal route.

The first step to recovering the money you are owed is to use a pre-legal approach. We have two approaches to pre-legal debt collection, using the following tactics to recover the money owed:

Pre-legal collections

We offer fixed fee pre-legal collection. We use email, letters and telephone to chase debts on your behalf. We report back to you at all stages, with a final review report. At this point, based on the outcome, you can decide to take matters further and use court action.

This service allows you to utilise the Late Payment Legislation, so you can add compensation and interest to the debt you are owed. We can also carry out credit checks on your debtors and advise on the most appropriate route to recover your money.

Court action

Court action should never be used as the first port of call. Our pre-legal approach has great success in most instances. If the pre-legal approach isn’t successful, though, we are able to escalate matters and take legal action through the courts.

The first stage in the process is to issue a ‘Letter Before Action’ which gives the debtor a set deadline to pay the money owed before you follow a legal procedure. In many cases, this enough, and the debt is paid.

If the payment isn’t paid by the deadline outlined in the ‘Letter Before Action’ you can move to a more formal legal claim and instruct a litigation solicitor to issue a claim for you. Chasing a debt should never be feared; it is your money. In most cases, it never reaches this stage, so it is always worth seeking advice before commencing enforcement action.

If the Letter Before Action fails to resolve your issue, and you still haven’t been paid, the next step is to issue a Claim. We will prepare the Claim Form, Evidence Pack and Particulars of Claim on your behalf and submit these to the court. As a debt collection agency managing high volumes of debt claims, we are able to send claims electronically, which means reductions in both time and cost.

We are able to offer a range of options to enforce judgements if payment is not received within 14 days of the County Court Judgement. Tailored to the specifics of the account, our range of options include:

  • Charging order
  • Order for sale
  • Warrant of control
  • Attachment of earnings
  • High Court Enforcement (for debt over £600 not regulated by Consumer Credit)

"Wright Hassall provides an excellent level of service and support throughout the debt recovery process – there is a good team which is focused on delivering an excellent level of service"

Legal 500 UK

Insolvency proceedings

Bankruptcy proceedings

In certain circumstances you can commence bankruptcy proceedings against an individual. It may also be used in certain circumstances as an alternative to county court proceedings.

The first step in the process is to serve a statutory demand on the individual that owes you a debt. The debt must be for more than £5,000, must be liquidated (for an ascertained amount that does not require an assessment) and must not be disputed.  

Once the statutory demand has been served, the debtor has 18 days to apply to set aside the statutory demand (because, for example, s(he) disputes the debt) or 21 days to pay the debt, failing which a bankruptcy petition can be presented at Court. The Court will then list a hearing and provided that the service requirements of the petition and the filing requirements of all additional documents are met and there is no opposition to the petition, the debtor will be declared bankrupt.

Winding up proceedings

If a company owes you more than £750.00 and the debt is not disputed, then you may be able to commence winding-up proceedings against the company with a view to placing it into compulsory liquidation.

One of the circumstances in which a company can be wound up by the Court is when it is unable to pay its debts. That can be proved by a creditor serving a statutory demand or a letter of demand on the company and the company not paying the debt within the deadline (provided that the debt is not disputed).

If a statutory demand is served, then the company will have 21 days to pay the debt, failing which a winding-up petition can be issued. A demand letter can give a company a short period of time to pay, perhaps just 72 hours, after which a petition can be presented if the debt is not challenged.

Once the petition is issued, there are service and advertising requirements that must be met before the hearing.

The procedural requirements for commencing bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings are complex and therefore we suggest that you speak to one of our experts before embarking on one of those processes.

Defended actions

In the event a claim is defended, we are able to manage this for you and we look to minimise the cost of doing so.

Mediation and debt compromise

For debts that are disputed by the debtor, another option before taking a legal route is to consider using an independent mediator to help both parties to negotiate an agreement which works for both sides. These are voluntary agreements, so neither side can be forced to adhere to the agreement, which may mean resorting to court action further down the line. We have in-house mediators who can help with this process.

"Phil Wilding heads the debt recovery team and ensures that clients are provided with an excellent level of service"

Legal 500 UK

Arbitration

When using a debt collection arbitrator, an independent person works with both the creditor and the debtor to find an appropriate solution. However, unlike mediation, arbitration is legally binding, so it can be a better route to secure the money owed to you. Please bear in mind though that once an arbitrator has made a decision, it is not possible to go to court.

Why Wright Hassall?

The service you will receive is based on experience, knowledge and a determination to be the law firm of choice for businesses seeking a debt collection agency in the commercial and consumer worlds.

Our debt recovery lawyers have significant experience in recovering debts for banks, financial and insurance institutions, corporates, retailers, SMEs and individual traders. Our debt collection team are experts in the recovery of both commercial and consumer debt, across a range of industry sectors.

We provide a complete debt recovery solution that is based on maximising recovery potential from every account. We put ourselves in our client’s shoes and treat the recovery of the debt as if it was our own money. This is done using high degrees of technology mixed with well trained staff working to recover the debt whilst delivering excellent brand protection. Our debt team is made up of over 40 debt collection professionals using the most advanced technology and tools. This gives us the systems, expertise and size to offer volume and bulk debt recovery services to a wide range of businesses. Through our subsidiary, we are members of the Credit Services Association and are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you want a modern innovative legal service – with collaboration, communication and mutual respect at its heart – designed to not only help protect your business but help it succeed, then please get in touch.

Pricing transparency

Quality assured: Wright Hassall is Lexcel accredited, the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for practice management and client care.

The *fee scale outlined below is calculated on the basis of issuing an individual claim for an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and not subject to enforcement action. We will give you an accurate estimate once we understand the scope of your claim. Please contact us if you have a portfolio of claims. All work is undertaken by a team of paralegals supervised by a qualified lawyer.

Value of claim

(NB Interest and compensation may take your debt into a higher banding)

Fee scale (including VAT)

(NB VAT is not recoverable from your debtor)
Up to £10,000  £96 - £480
£10,001 - £50,000 £840 – £1080
£50,001 - £100,000 £1440
£100,001 and above Please get in touch with us

Below is a table of Court fees that are payable upon each claim: 

Debt amount £s Court fee  £s
Up to 300 £30
300.01-500 £50
500.01-1,000 £70
1,000.01-1,500  £80
1,500.01-3,000 £115.00
3,000.01-5,000 £205
5,000.01-10,000  £455
10,000.01-50,000  *5%
50,000.01-100,000  *5%
100,000-150,000  *5%
150,000-01-200,000  *5%
200,000.01-250,000 £10,000
250,000-01-300,000 £10,000
Over 300,000 £10,000

Court fees are charged as disbursements but they are added to the debt and recoverable from the debtor. Please note that there is no VAT payable upon Court fees.

If the debtor does not respond to the claim within 14 days, or admits all or part of the claim you are entitled to enter judgment (CCJ). There is no Court fee payable upon entering judgment, however our fees are as follows: 

Judgment amount Our fee Recoverable costs (plus VAT)
Under £5,000 £45-£100 £22-£55
Over £5,000 £75-£135 £30-£70

Please note that the costs added to the debt upon entering Judgment are limited to the recoverable costs set out above. 

The details

Fees include:

  • Taking instructions and reviewing documents
  • Undertaking appropriate searches
  • Sending a letter before action
  • Receiving payment on your behalf and passing it to you
  • Drafting and issuing claim if debt not paid
  • Applying to the court to enter judgment in default if no Acknowledgement of Service or Defence is received
  • Requesting payment when judgment in default is received
  • Advising on next steps if payment not received within a reasonable time frame (usually 14 days)

Disputed debt

If the debt is disputed, the fixed fees above will not apply. If you have a disputed debt, our litigation team will advise on the work involved and the likely cost. This will depend on a number of variables including the value of the claim, the number of witnesses, the complexity of the defence raised, the amount of documentation to be reviewed, any counterclaims, any commercial objectives (including other disputes rolled up with the defended claim), and the parties involved.

Typically, we will provide a fixed fee for dealing with each stage of the litigation process in a defended claim i.e. replying to the defence, preparing directions questionnaires, dealing with any mediation (if applicable), preparing Witness Statements, disclosure, preparing trial bundles and instructing an Agent/Barrister to attend the final hearing on your behalf. It is difficult to provide timescales for defended claims progressing to a final hearing as this could depend upon the value of the claim, Court and witness availability and directions/deadlines agreed by the parties and set by the Court.

If work falls outside of our fixed costs and in circumstances where a case becomes protracted by reason of a dispute or otherwise, but we deem it to be suitable to remain with the Debt Team, additional charges may be raised on an hourly rate basis.

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