Debt recovery

Debts can arise in all walks of life.

We help both businesses and individuals recover the money owed to them. We also act for people being pursued for debts wrongly claimed or which they are unable to pay.

We understand the difficulties that late payments and debt can cause a business. We know the importance of reaching a resolution and recovering those debts as quickly as possible. We can help you recover money owed to you, and assist you in defending any claims made against you.

1. How we can help you

Our services include:

  • Pre-litigation collections
  • Letters Before Action
  • Trace
  • Issuing county court claims
  • Enforcement of county court judgements (CCJs)
  • Dispute resolution for defended claims
  • Recovery of service charge/rent arrears
  • Advice and representation in mediation or arbitration
  • Insolvency proceedings, including issuing a statutory demand and petitioning for bankruptcy.

2. The key stages of the process

The main stages of a typical debt recovery process are:

  • Take your instructions and review documents before agreeing a strategy.
  • Undertake appropriate searches; e.g. Bankruptcy, property ownership, instructing an enquiry agent to trace a debtor..
  • Issuing a letter of claim requesting payment from the debtor
  • Drafting and issuing a claim form to the relevant court if the debt is not paid.
  • Applying to the court to enter a Judgment in Default if the debtor fails to respond to court proceedings.
  • Contacting the debtor to request payment where a Judgment in Default has been issued by the court.
  • Enforcement action where the debtor still does not pay the amount owed.  This can include seeking an attachment of earnings order, a charging order and/or order for a property to be sold, instructing bailiffs.

3. Our team and supervision

All our staff are supervised by the partners. David Fraser has particular responsibility for our disputes team. He has over 30 years of experience in recovering debts for businesses and individuals. 

For more information about us, including details of qualifications and experience of our team, please visit Our Team page.

4. How much will it cost?

Recovering unpaid debts must be approached with a commercial mindset.  

Bad debtors can be a massive drag on a business.  There is no sense in doing work and not getting paid for it. 

At the same time, it is always important to consider whether the costs involve justifying pursing the money owed.  You have to weigh in the balance the damage to commercial relationships, the time you will spend on the case and the legal costs you will incur.

We do work hard to recover your money for you, but never lose sight of the commercial realities, racking up legal costs unnecessarily.  From the beginning, we will be transparent with you about our costs and advise you on the most cost-effective strategies for recovering the money owed to you.  We will also update you regularly on your costs and if our initial estimate needs revising.

We charge for our time at an hourly rate of £195 plus vat or £100 plus VAT, depending on the level of case worker handling your matter. We will help you view things in a proportionate way and agree, at the outset, the budget you are prepared to commit in chasing the debt, and the different options (and their costs implications) The various tactical routes one can pursue can result in higher or lower costs, but sometimes a more expensive option may have a better chance of success. For example, sometimes the first step to take may not be simply to issue a county court claim but may involve issuing something called a statutory demand (which can vary, according to whether one is pursuing an individual debtor or a company or partnership) and possibly following that up with bankruptcy of winding up petitions, using the government’s insolvency procedures. Those can be expensive but can sometimes achieve a result more quickly (and indeed cost effectively) than ordinary court claims.

In any event, we will discuss the options with you at the outset, work out a budget and agree the appropriate course of action.

As an illustration, for a straightforward case involving a debt where there are no factors that would increase the costs (such as those listed below), our fees (excluding disbursements) would be in the region of the following:

  1. If the debt is recovered following correspondence, without the need to issue a claim: £150 to £250 including VAT but plus any expenses (eg court issue fees).
  2. If the debt is recovered following the issue of a claim and judgement in default: £450 to £750 in total, including VAT but plus any expenses (eg court issue fees).
  3. If enforcement proceedings are necessary: £750 to £1200 in total, including VAT but plus any expenses (eg court issue fees).

4.1. What factors could increase the costs?

Factors that may increase the costs include:

  • If the case/dispute becomes defended and/or there is a counterclaim
  • Enforcement proceedings
  • Instructing a Bailiff
  • Complex issues
  • Large volumes of documents that need to be considered.

4.2. Costs payable to other organisations (disbursements)

If it is necessary to issue a claim, the court fee is based on the amount you’re claiming, plus interest. The court fees are currently:

Claim amount

Paper form fee

Online claim fee

Up to £300
£300.01 to £500


£500.01 to £1,000



£1,000.01 to £1,500



£1,500.01 to £3,000



£3,000.01 to £5,000



£5,000.01 to £10,000



£10,000.01 to £100,000
5% of the claim
4.5% of the claim

4.3. Other costs

Additional costs could include:

  • Bankruptcy search: £2 per person
  • Office Copy Search £3.60 per property (including VAT)
  • A barrister, if the case merits their involvement. Before instructing a barrister we will discuss the level of seniority required for the case and the cost of instructing them.

5. How long will it take?

A typical debt recovery will often take between 6 weeks to 6 months, from instruction, through to payment from the other side. This may be quicker or longer depending on whether we are required to issue a claim and whether the other side pay promptly on receipt of any Judgment issued by a court. As detailed above, if enforcement action is required, we will discuss the fees and timescales involved. At present, with the current pandemic affecting most organizations, there may be some additional delay and it is a little difficult to predict quite how quickly the Court Service will process claims.