Commercial Debt Recovery

Unpaid bills can are stressful part of running a business and can be very damaging. Rather than go through the hassle of recovering payment, you may be tempted to forget about the sums owed and write them off.

We understand that you want to recover what is owed to you as quickly as possible. Our Debt Recovery team is regarded as one of the leading teams in the North West in recovering money owed to you and we have a proven track record in recovering the full amount outstanding. The team consists of 8 qualified solicitors with over 70 years of experience between them, supported by two trainee solicitors.  The team is supervised by the head of Commercial Dispute Resolution Anthony Higham.

Our service is tailored to your needs and includes:

  • Letters before action;
  • Statutory demands;
  • Judgements;
  • Issuing Proceedings;
  • Winding up proceedings;
  • Bankruptcy petitions;
  • Third Party debt orders;
  • Charges of land;
  • Security of costs.

In most instances, we are able to achieve payment without the need  for Court Proceedings. However, we are not afraid to adopt a robust approach in order to recover what is owed to you. We will keep you updated regularly and provide advice on the best way for you to recover the debt.

Debt Recovery – Business to Business Debt that is Undisputed

The Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the body which regulates law firms, require us to provide you with information on our costs in relation to certain legal services which we provide.  This is so that you have the information you need to make an infrared choice of legal service provider, and an understanding as to what the total cost of that service may be.

One such legal service is the advice and representation for the recovery of debt up to the value of £100,000.  For any other value of debt, please contact the Debt Recovery team to discuss costs.

The cost guide below applies only in circumstances where your claim is in relation to:-

  1. an unpaid invoice;
  2. which is not disputed (so when the debt is unpaid and unchallenged by the Debtor); and
  3. enforcement action is not needed.

These costs assume that the Debtor is a Limited Company or a Partnership.  If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary, which could be on a fixed fee (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate if more extensive work is needed. The hourly rate is determined by the fee earner dealing with your matter and will be agreed with you before the work is undertaken.

Debt Value Court Fee Our Fee (plus VAT) Total
Up to £5,000 See link below £800 plus VAT (£960) £800 + VAT & Court Fee
£5,001 – £10,000 £455 £1,200 plus VAT (£1440) £1,895
£10,001 – £100,000 5% of the value of the claim £2,000 plus VAT (£2400) £2000 + VAT & Court Fee

The pricing above is based on the following information:-

  • Court Fees are prescribed by H M Courts & Tribunals Service and are subject to change. Information can be accessed utilising the following link   At the time of writing the Court Fees displayed in the table above are accurate.
  • Our fees are calculated on the assumption that the hourly rate adopted is £260 per hour plus VAT.
  • There may also be disbursements payable. These are costs relating to your claim that are payable to 3rd parties,  for example, the instruction of a Tracing Agent to identify your Debtor or instruction of a Process Server for serving a Statutory Demand. We handle the payment of these fees to the 3rd party to both ensure a smoother process.
  • Any third party disbursements are excluded from the table above as these are unknown at present time and/or likely to be incurred when the debt becomes disputed and so would be a separate cost estimate.
  • VAT is payable in addition to our charges as outlined in the table above, but is not usually recoverable from the Debtor (you can, however, recover the VAT yourselves if you are VAT registered).
  • Court Fees will become due and payable on the issue of the Court Claim and not at the conclusion of the matter.

Our fee includes:

  • Taking your initial instructions and reviewing relevant documentation.
  • Undertaking appropriate cursory searches, i.e to ascertain the correct party to recover the outstanding debt from.
  • Sending a Letter Before Action, or, alternatively, a Late Payment Demand (which not only claims a basic debt but also interest and compensation).
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing Claim Form (N1).
  • Where no Acknowledgement of Service or Defence is received in response to your issued Claim, applying to the Court to enter Judgment in default.
  • When Judgment in default is received, writing to the other side to request payment.
  • If payment is not received within 14 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs.

Our fee excludes:

  • Any negotiated Settlement in relation to the payment of your outstanding debt.
  • Any discussions with regard to Payment Plan.
  • Contested debt.
  • Any enforcement action that is required.
  • Any Insolvency or Bankruptcy issues.
  • Dealing with an Insolvent or Bankrupt Debtor.
  • Dealing with Insolvency and Bankruptcy issues in relation to your
  • Sourcing Debtors with unknown whereabouts.
  • Dealing with a Defended Claim.
  • Counter Claims or Set Offs against the unpaid sum.
  • Drafting our Statutory Demand and accompanying Witness Statements and documentation.
  • Our fee excludes Debt Recovery Claims against individuals.
  • Multi party action.
  • Jurisdictional issues.
  • Any other complicated or unexpected issue which may arise from time to time (and which we will duly identify and report).

Every situation is different and so timeframes are difficult to prescribe.  Straightforward, non-disputed debts usually take 2-6 weeks from receipt of instructions to the recovery of a sum of money, assuming that no Claim needs to be issued.

This time estimate is also on the basis that the other side pays promptly.  If a formal Claim is required to be advanced then the matter will become governed by the timetable of the Court which varies depending on the Court which is local to yourself and that particular Courts workflow at the relevant time.  We will identify that debt recovery claims increase significantly as matters approach end of financial year and so we would advise that around that particular period matters may be slightly more protracted than if they are advanced earlier in the year.  If enforcement action is required, the matter will take longer to resolve.

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:

  • The VAT element of our fee cannot necessarily be reclaimed from your debtor.
  • Interest and compensation that has accrued on your outstanding invoice may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost and as outlined in the table above.
  • The costs quoted above are subject to the clarification and exclusions, which are shown above.

Key Stages

Every debt action is unique and so the length of the process – from receipt of instructions to securing payment from the debtor is difficult to prescribe.  Straightforward, non-disputed debts could be resolved within 2-6 weeks of instructions, assuming that no formal Claim is required.  A matter will take longer if a formal Claim needs to be issued and / or enforcement action needs to be taken following Judgment.  The chart below shows the standard procedure for a debt claim.  Our experienced Debt Recovery Team will talk you through the procedure and likely timescales in more detail once the specifics of the debt are known

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What our clients say

M Wright

I would like to say that I am very pleased with Butcher & Barlow Solicitors and the outcome of a 5 year battle over non-payment of an invoice.
Their approach and conviction to my case means I would not hesitate to employ their services in the future.

The plan we followed worked very well and I’ve been impressed with your professional and knowledgeable, no nonsense approach. I am quite sure I would not have achieved the same outcome liaising with DA myself.

Another Testimonial