To protect your cashflow, you need to ensure that your business can collect bad debt. This is a common area of business activity and there is a well established legal process for debt collection for businesses.
The Process of Recovery of Bad Debt
- A letter of demand is sent to the debtor. This must be “pre-action protocol compliant.” This debt collection letter needs to be legally admissible and must include: specific details of the debt, a request that payment be made by a certain date; and a warning that debt recovery options will be pursued if payment is not received by this date.
- Issuing court proceedings for the debt. Court proceedings commence with the filing of a Statement of Claim. The Court handling the matter depends on the amount of the debt and the forms required vary so it’s important to seek legal advice at this stage.
- The way that the debtor responds to the Statement of Claim determines the next steps. They may agree to an installment order, they may not respond at all in which case a Court Judgment will be obtained or they may file a Defence.
- Statutory Demand may be issued in some circumstances. A statutory demand is a formal written request that a debt must be paid.
The Court has a range of options available to proceed with collection of your money. These include:
- Seizing property, where the debtor’s goods are seized and sold at auction.
- Summons, where the debtor has to attend a public Court examination to explain their assets and liabilities.
- Garnishee Order, where a percentage of their wages are given to you. This is also know as an attachment of earnings order in England.
- Bankruptcy/winding-up proceedings.
How I can help
I have experienced business solicitors who are completely at home with the legal processes involved in England and Wales debt recovery services. I can help you at any stage of this process of recovering a business debt, whether it is helping you write an effective and legally sound-letter of demand, or pursuing the matter through the Court system. I am familiar with the process of enforcing Judgment and can manage the process right through to bankruptcy or company winding up proceedings if need be.
I are also well aware of the costs of debt litigation and can advise you on whether it is commercially viable to proceed to Court.
Never letting it happen again
One way to protect against bad debt is to review your contracts, trade agreements and terms of trade. I can help you make sure that your terms are clear and your processes solid so you can avoid lengthy and costly litigation proceedings in the future.