Here at Michael Lewin Solicitors we offer a fully tailored debt recovery process from pre-legal collections process and initial letters of claim, right through to the enforcement process.
We recognise that waiting on outstanding invoices to be paid can be detrimental to your cash flow, especially if the debtors delay payment beyond the terms specified.
There will inevitably become a time when you will need to escalate things in order to have your invoices paid. But knowing how to do this correctly can be complex, especially when balanced out with concerns over repeat or future business.
We operate from offices in Leeds, but help business owners across all of England and Wales. Rest assured, your case will be in good hands.
Make A Debt Recovery Enquiry Today
- Excellent debt collection rates
- B2B and B2C collection available
- National service
- Free advice is always available
Pre-Legal Debt Recovery Service
Before looking down the avenue of legal action to recover the money owed to you, it’s important that you first consider the methods with which you may be able to collect payment before legal debt recovery is instigated.
Our pre-legal process is tailored to suit your specific needs. Our standard pre-legal collections process would usually be structured and can happen over a variety of channels, including a series of collection letters, emails, inbound and outbound collections activity and SMS. Our communication is always clear and concise and we adapt our style to your specifications.
Letter Before Action Service (LBA)
A key method used for pre-legal debt recovery is a Solicitors Letter Before Action (LBA). This letter is the final step before legal proceedings are started against those withholding payment and leaves the recipient in no doubt as to what is needed, and by when. The Letter Before Action will set out your claim and a deadline by which to pay it – this deadline will usually be 14 days. It will warn that failure to pay will result in legal action being undertaken.
We can tailor this service to suit your individual needs and add collections calls and emails to the LBA process prior to commencing legal proceedings. In the unlikely event that the Letter Before Action is ignored, you will need to consider the next step in gaining a successful resolution, which would be progressing your claim to the court.
Issue & Judgement
If other methods have failed, issuing court proceedings against the debtor is your next step. Upon your instructions we would prepare and lodge a claim on your behalf with the court. Once the claim has been served to the debtor, there is then a period of 14 days for the debtor to take action.
Their action may be to acknowledge the claim (which will allow further 14 days, 28 days from issue in total); admit and pay the debt in full or offer instalments; part admit the claim or defend the claim. If the debtor fails to acknowledge the claim, or offer a defence then you are entitled to request a County Court Judgment (CCJ) to be entered against your debtor.
A Judgment does not guarantee a payment but it provides encouragement for the debtor to pay as if left for a period greater than one month without being paid it can adversely affect their credit record.
Once a County Court Judgment has been obtained, your next step would be to enforce the Judgment in order to recover the debt. There are various enforcement options available and will largely depend on the known assets and circumstances of the debtor as to which route is the most appropriate. Enforcement options include:
County Court Bailiff/High Court Enforcement Officers
A Warrant of Control is most commonly used to authorise a County Court Bailiff to visit the home of the debtor in order to seek payment of the debt, or seize assets to the value of the debt. Alternatively, a Writ of Control can be issued for a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to perform a similar job. A County Court Judgment exceeding the value of £600.00 can be transferred to the High Court for enforcement by the HCEO. Usually the HCEOs have more power and are more effective than the County Court Bailiffs.
Attachment of Earnings
If the debtor is in employment, you may apply for an Attachment of Earnings. The Order enables for the debt to be deducted by the debtor’s employer and is then paid to you as an instalment towards the debt.
A charging order is a serious step to take against your debtor. It is an order that secures the debt against the debtor’s home if the debtor owns or has interest in the property. Once the Charging order is in place, you are at liberty to apply to the court for an Order for Sale, whereby the debtor is forced to sell their property in order to repay the debt owed.
Third Party Debt Order
Third Party Debt Order requires payment of the debtor’s debt by a third party that owes them money. Most commonly, this will be a bank or building society with whom the debtor holds an account with. Money will be paid to you from this account.
Order to Attend Questioning
Requires the debtor to attend court and be questioned under oath about their financial circumstances. A hearing such as this is usually used to decide on further enforcement of the debt. Often, issuing an Order to Attend Questioning will prompt payment or further negotiation with the debtor.
Bankruptcy/Winding Up Proceedings
If the Judgment has been obtained against an individual and the debt value exceeds £750.00 you can apply for a Bankruptcy Petition. To succeed, you must be able to show that the debtor has no means to pay his debts. The filing of a Bankruptcy Petition is a serious threat and can be effective if the debtor indeed has the means to pay.
If the Judgment has been obtained against a company and the debt value exceeds £750.00, you may consider winding up proceedings. Once a Winding-Up Order has been granted, a Liquidator will be appointed to wind up the debtor’s business and to pay any creditors if there are sufficient funds to do so. The winding up process can be an expensive option for you, and is commonly used a last resort when all other approaches to recover the debt have failed.
Why Choose Us As Your Debt Recovery Solicitors?
Our difference is that we take the time to listen to everyone involved and actually mediate a debt collection proposal that suits both parties – this means that the debtor pays the correct amount at the right time and the creditor gets their payment within the terms they want.
Your business is fairly unique, and we understand that, which is why we provide a service that suits your exact needs. We can collect just the one invoice for you or as many as you want using the very latest techniques and collection methods, all designed to ensure that you get your monies collected and get your cashflow moving again.
The way we work and the results we get are our speciality, so we don’t care whether it’s a B2B debt collection or B2C debt collection; we work hard to get the money that is owed to you.
Meet The Debt Recovery Team
Latest Blog Posts
An NHS surgeon, Mr Tony Dixon who once helped pioneer the use of mesh in bowel surgery to treat prolapses, is now suspended from surgery. Click to find out more.
We all know that we should start thinking about what may happen to us in later life but many of us think that because it is so far off in the future that we can think about it later. Read more here.
There are many people in the UK who haven’t made a Will and they will often have various reasons rightly or wrongly for not making a Will. Click to find out more.
Struggling with late invoice payments from your clients? Read our top tips on how to prevent late invoices before commencing work here.
GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018 and we are offering a full audit service on a fixed fee basis. Find out more here about our GDPR services.