Debt Recovery Fee

Recovering a debt can be relatively simple if the debtor acknowledges the debt and court action is unnecessary. However, if the debtor disputes the debt and court proceedings are initiated, the process becomes lengthier, more complex, and costlier. Each case is unique, making it difficult to determine at the outset whether a case will be straightforward or complex.

We cannot forecast the duration or total cost of a claim due to the numerous influencing factors. These factors include:

  • Whether the case is contested and if so:
    • The disposition of your opponent,
    • The volume of relevant documents,
    • The number of witnesses involved,
    • The possibility of settlement, and
    • The time it takes for the court to schedule a hearing.

The information on costs and timing is provided solely for guidance and does not constitute a quotation. We are happy to provide details relating to a specific matter upon request. Every client receives a letter of engagement and terms of business outlining our terms and costs based on their needs and the particular circumstances of the case.

Estimated Fees

The complexity of a case does not always correlate with its value.

For contested debts, we prefer using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) whenever possible, as it tends to be quicker and cheaper than court proceedings.

Small Claims

Claims under £10,000 typically do not require a solicitor. The court assigns these claims to the “small claims” track. Initiate proceedings online through Money Claims On-Line. You will generally not recover your legal fees for claims under £10,000, even if you win.

Fast Track

The court allocates claims between £10,000 and £25,000 to the fast track. The trial usually lasts only one day. The court allows recovery of fixed costs from your opponent if you win, but these fixed costs are usually less than our charges. The fixed costs set by the Ministry of Justice can be found here.

Money Claims On-Line

For straightforward or small claims, it might not be cost-effective to instruct us on a “full retainer” basis (where we handle the case entirely and appear on the court record as your solicitors). Instead, we might suggest handling the matter yourself with our support on a “pay as you go” basis, known as an unbundled legal service. Unbundled legal advice is not suitable for everyone. We will advise you if we think it is appropriate for your case. Unbundled legal services can be charged at a fixed fee or on an hourly-rate basis. Information about Money Claims On-Line can be found here and here.

How Long Will It Take?

The time required to recover your debt depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether proceedings are initiated or a settlement is reached;
  • The court’s scheduling of hearing dates;
  • Your opponent’s disposition;
  • The time the judge takes to deliver a judgment if it is reserved.

Settling a straightforward claim without issuing proceedings might take between two weeks and three months. A fast track claim could take up to a year from the issuance of proceedings to the trial date, depending on court availability.

A more complex claim assigned to the court’s multi-track (reserved for more complex cases and claims over £25,000) might take between one month (if settled or uncontested) and two years (if contested) to resolve. Some county courts have lengthy waiting lists for hearings and can take up to seven weeks to process paperwork.

How Much Will It Cost?

It is challenging to provide an accurate overall cost estimate because no claim is “average”. For a relatively straightforward claim for £100,000 or less in the fast track, legal costs might range from £12,000 plus VAT and disbursements (if settling before trial) to £25,000 plus VAT and disbursements (on a full retainer basis). A complex claim in the multi-track with expert and lay witnesses, listed for a two-day trial, could cost between £40,000 plus VAT and disbursements (if settling before trial) and £120,000 plus VAT and disbursements. Adjudicating a claim, a form of ADR, could cost between £5,000 plus VAT and disbursements and £12,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

Once your claim concludes, you may wish to instruct us to assist with enforcing a judgment. We often handle this work on a fixed fee basis if the case is appropriate. However, when debtors evade detection or oppose enforcement, costs can escalate. For instance, an application for a charging order can cost between £500 plus VAT and disbursements and £2,500 plus VAT and disbursements. This note provides general guidance and a range of average costs. For every case we are instructed on, we will provide a detailed, case-specific estimate.