Our Dispute Resolution Team can help you secure the repayment of a debt owed to you. This page relates only to debt recovery up to £100,000. Our service is highly bespoke and will be tailored to your needs and type of debt to be recovered.
All work is supervised by a senior lawyer, who may be a Partner, Consultant Solicitor or Consultant Barrister. At the beginning of your matter we will tell you who will be working for you and who to contact should you have any concerns with our service. We will also explain the scope of our services. However, you should note that the course of the matter will be influenced significantly by the approach taken by the debtor and, as with all dispute resolution, there is no guarantee that you will be successful.
What is included
The key stages involved in a debt recovery matter and included in the estimated fee stated below include:
- Taking your instructions and reviewing the relevant documentation.
- Investigating the debtor’s legal liability to pay the debt.
- Investigating the debtor’s ability to pay the debt.
- Sending a letter before action.
- Receiving payment and sending the same to you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing a claim.
- Where no acknowledgment of service or defence is received, applying to the court to enter judgment in default.
- When judgment in default is received, writing to the debtor to require payment.
- If payment is not received promptly, then providing advice on next steps and likely costs.
What is excluded
The fees set out below would not include any further work, such as dealing with any defended debt (whether through litigation, negotiation or any alternative means of dispute resolution), any enforcement of a judgment, insolvency proceedings, any ancillary applications (such as an application to strike out or amend), any counterclaim or any appeal.
What we charge
Our Partners and Consultant Solicitors/Barristers charge hourly rates from £480 to £1,100. Our Associates, Legal Executives and Licensing Coordinators charge hourly rates from £190 to £450. Our Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals and Legal Assistants charge hourly rates from £70 to £350. All rates depend on the seniority of the individual and the practice area. In some limited cases and on request, we may offer to work on a fixed-fee, contingency or damages-based basis. In these exceptional cases, fees are discussed and agreed before we start work.
We offer a bespoke service and each matter is unique. We can only estimate the likely costs of our debt recovery services once we have discussed the matter with you and seen the papers. However, we can provide an indication of our likely fees associated with work of varying complexity as set out above under the heading “What is included”, as follows:
- Low complexity – from £3,000 to £5,000
- Mid complexity – from £5,000 to £10,000
- High complexity – in excess of £10,000
The following factors are likely to increase the complexity of the matter:
- The debtor having a defence, counterclaim or a right of set-off.
- There being multiple parties to the recovery action.
- The debt having been assigned or factored.
- The debtor appointing solicitors.
- A higher-value debt.
- The debtor being based overseas.
- The debtor being hard to locate.
- The debtor being hard to serve.
- The legal or factual basis for the debt being complicated, disputed or unclear.
- You being unfamiliar with litigation in the English courts.
In addition to our fees, you will need to budget for some or all of the following:
- Instructing finding agents to locate hard-to-find debtors (£60 to £6,000, depending upon time spent and difficulty in locating person(s)).
- Instructing a process server to serve your claim on the debtor (from £300).
- Instructing overseas legal advisers to advise on any elements governed by matters of foreign law (from £1,500).
- Court fees for starting proceedings and for other stages in the litigation process. Court fees depend on the level of the unpaid debt. The fee will range from £35 (for unpaid debts not exceeding £300) to £5,000 (where the unpaid debt is £100,000).
- Instructing a barrister to represent you in court. It is difficult to estimate fees for counsel since this depends on the complexity of the matter, experience of the advocate required, and whether the matter reaches trial. Instructing junior counsel on an undisputed debt claim up to £10,000 would likely cost £1,000 to £2,000; junior counsel on an undisputed debt claim of up to £100,000 would likely cost £2,000 to £3,000; and junior counsel on a disputed debt claim of up to £100,000 would likely cost £20,000 to £30,000.
We incur these and other necessary additional third-party costs (“disbursements”) on your behalf. We would usually discuss disbursements with you in advance and incur them on your behalf when appropriate. You are responsible for all disbursements; we add them to your bill at cost, plus VAT where applicable. You don’t need to pay these third parties directly, though. You simply pay our bill and we will pass on the relevant sum on your behalf to the relevant third party in settlement of their fees.
Rates and VAT
Where VAT applies, then we add this to our charges at the prevailing rate. The figures quoted above all include VAT at 20%. Most disbursements attract VAT at the prevailing rate. This will be added to the bills we receive. We pass the total cost on to you. We do not add VAT on to disbursements where VAT has already been added by the relevant third party. Certain disbursements, such as official fees, are not subject to VAT. Where our services are not a vatable supply, then we do not charge VAT and the quote above is reduced by 20%.
How long it will take
The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. It could take as little as a week if the debtor responds promptly, agrees the debt and pays by return. It could take up to two years, or in some extreme cases longer, if the debt is contested and if there are complex matters to be tried before a court. As with all litigation, there is no guarantee that you will be successful in recovering the debt.