If a person or business owes you money and won’t pay, there are a number of ways you can go about recovering the debt.
Before considering legal action it is advisable to speak to the person who owes you money, and try to agree a plan to get the money repaid. This can be done informally or you may wish to have a formal agreement between you as to how and when the money will be repaid.
If this doesn’t work you should write to the other party setting out the money which is owed, why this is owed, and any steps you have already taken to recover the debt. It is important to keep copies of any correspondence you have sent and received.
If you are unable to resolve the matter you may then wish to proceed to court action.
You can bring court action for a money claim online through
https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome or by submitting a claim form, which can be found here: http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=338.
It is important to note that there will be a court fee to pay when you submit your claim.
After you make your claim the person or business who owes you money must respond within 14 days of receiving it. If they do not respond you can ask the court to make an order requiring them to pay.
If the other side contests the claim you may have to go to a court hearing and further costs will be incurred. Where the claim falls within the Small Claim Track (i.e. the claim is for less than £10,000) any costs you incur will not be recoverable.
You can still try and reach agreement with the other person or business once a claim has been issued. You can do this yourself or with assistance. For example, you may wish to use the court’s small claims mediation service if your claim is worth under £10,000. This is a relatively cheap option and you should contact your local county court for further details, if you feel it may be useful to you.
If you are successful in obtaining a judgment against the other person or business you will then need to consider how you will enforce this. You should consider from the very beginning of the claim whether the other party will be able to afford to pay.
Depending on the assets the other party has you might consider a number of ways of enforcing the judgment. If they own land or property you can ask the court to place a charge on this. Another popular option is to ask the court to make an attachment of earnings ordered so that money is deducted from their wages.
We have experience in pursuing these types of claims so if you are considering bringing a debt claim, and want to take advice, please contact a member of our team.