When recovering debts, we work to agreed hourly rates, as detailed below. We provide estimates in advance for each stage of work to be undertaken.
Our fees attract VAT, the present rate of VAT is 20%. Our hourly rates are as follows:
|Grade A||Partners/ Directors
Solicitor and Legal Executives with 8 + years experience
|£330 plus VAT|
|Grade B||Solicitors and Legal Executives with 4 + years’ experience||£280 plus VAT|
|Grade C||Other Solicitors or Legal Executives and fee earners of equivalent experience||£220 plus VAT|
|Grade D||Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals and bilingual Paralegals and other fee earners||£140-180 plus VAT|
4 Stages of the Debt Recovery Process
Courts expect people to do all they can to avoid court action. They expect both creditors and debtors to give the other a reasonable amount of information, so that each side can understand the other’s position. The Courts also expect parties to try to reach an agreement if they can before a creditor issues a claim against a debtor.
Below are the steps in starting a money claim for the recovery of debts by a creditor from a debtor.
- Letter Before Action (LBA) – pursuant to the Pre-Action Protocol, a LBA should be sent to the debtor before issuing any legal proceedings
- Claim– if you do not receive a satisfactory response to the LBA then the next stage in the process is to issue a claim through the Court.
- County Court Judgment (CCJ)– a County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a Court Order that confirms that the debtor has defaulted on payment
- Enforcement – once a County Court Judgment has been obtained, it is then possible to ‘enforce’ that debt immediately. We will always advise on the most appropriate method of enforcement
If a debtor does not make payment on demand and the debt is not disputed, it may be worth considering insolvency proceedings.
Instead of the usual long process of issuing a County Court claim, we can advise on commencing insolvency action by initially sending a draft Winding Up Petition to a company or a Statutory Demand to an individual. A very high percentage of cases are paid at this stage without further insolvency proceedings being issued.
Sometimes we will be able to offer a fixed fee to complete work or a certain stage of work required. We can agree a fixed fee with a client from the outset.
If we offer a fixed fee, it will generally cover the initial stages of the process. For example, document review, advice in conference and/or in writing and a letter of claim to the debtor. We would typically charge between £1,700 and £4,000, plus VAT.
If there is a need to issue a court claim, we will provide you an estimate of costs for each stage of work and try to estimate the costs of the case overall.
In larger or more complex debt recovery matters we may suggest obtaining the advice of a barrister or instructing a barrister to ‘draft pleadings’ (prepare court documents). If a barrister is instructed to draft court documents, we would expect them to charge between £1,200 and £3,500 plus VAT, depending on the documentation and the complexity of the matter. When possible, we negotiate a fixed fee for each instruction.
Typically, we would expect barristers in debt cases to charge between £200 and £350 per hour plus VAT
In addition, there may be number of expenses you will have to be made aware of in a litigation matter and we will ask you to cover them before they are incurred. These disbursements are always paid in addition to our fees and may be subject to VAT and may include:
- Courier charges
- Process Server normally charges between £100 and £200 plus VAT depending on service provided
- Translations costs are typically 10p-15p per word
- Mediation services are charged separately and can range from £750 plus VAT for ½ day service to £3,500 plus VAT for a full day of mediation
- Barristers normally charge £900-£3,500 plus VAT per one day hearing for their services and this depends upon time they spend in court as well as preparation time (briefing fee)
- Any court fees as they became payable (no VAT payable) More information on court fees can be found here (https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/court-fees)
Litigation can be lengthy. It can sometimes take up to 12 months before a trial date is set, which is why parties are encouraged throughout the litigation process to try to settle matters outside of court.
The courts actively encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The most common form of ADR is mediation. We will discuss with you whether mediation is suitable in your case. The court may displace the normal costs rules to order a winning party to pay costs if it acted unreasonably in refusing to mediate.