This brief article answers the five key questions regarding the new pre-action protocol for debt claims.

Q1) What is it?

A) The new procedure to follow prior to issuing a debt claim against an individual or sole trader.

Q2) When do we have to start using it?

A) From 1 October 2017

Q3) Do we have to use it for every debt that we wish to pursue?

A) No. You only have to use it if you are a business and are pursuing an individual debtor, including a sole trader. There are also some sector specific exemptions and any regulatory obligations should also take precedence.

Q4) What do we have to do in order to comply?

A) The first step is to send the debtor a letter before claim, statement of account and response pack — giving the debtor 30 days to respond. The next step depends on what response, if any, you receive from the debtor.

Q5) What will happen if we don’t comply?

A) The court could penalise you in costs or deny the interest you have claimed.