How can we help you?

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation with our debt collection solicitors and arrange your free debt recovery health check.

Stephensons’ dedicated debt department advises clients ranging from asset based finance companies to large corporate, SME’s and owner managed businesses to private individuals. Our debt solicitors’ services include:

  • Business debt recovery
  • Debt recovery for private individuals
  • Debt recovery for financiers
  • International debt recovery

Click here to fill in our debt recovery instruction form to start the debt recovery process.

How to recover debt from an individual

Since 1 Oct 2017, there is a new pre-action protocol for recovering a debt from an individual (including a sole trader) but this doesn’t apply to business to business debts otherwise. The new protocol is known as a letter of claim.

Find out more about the letter of claim here.

If you do need to take further action in order to recover debt from an individual or a business, our experienced team are on hand to assist and do the legwork for you.

How much is a debt recovery solicitor?

The cost of a debt recovery solicitor or specialist commercial dept collection team can vary, depending on the individual circumstances involved. If the debt isn’t disputed and no enforcement action is needed, the costs will be lower than when a debt dispute arises, and more legal work is required.

The below debt recovery costs apply where your claim relates to an unpaid invoice or invoices which are not disputed and enforcement action is not needed. 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 which might be on a fixed fee or an hourly rate. The fixed fees set out below do not include giving you any advice about your claim. Related third party costs, as detailed below, may also be payable for specific services.

Stage 1: Pre Litigation

We will charge a fixed fee of £100 plus VAT for sending an initial letter before claim and spending up to two hours negotiating with the debtor at the pre-litigation stage. In case of multiple debtors, an additional fixed fee of £100 plus VAT will be charged for each additional letter before claim sent.

*Please note that the above-mentioned fee structure is applicable for clients who instruct us on less than ten new debt recovery files each month and require a bespoke letter before claim. For clients who instruct us on more than ten new debt recovery files each month, the fixed fee will be reduced to £50 plus VAT for each letter before claim issued.

Stage 2: Issue of Proceedings and entry of judgement

We will only charge fixed fees and disbursements as listed in the table below for undefended litigation, for each debtor to a claim. Our charges will be subject to VAT at the standard rate. It is important to note that all of these fees and disbursements are recoverable from the debtor as part of the Judgment.

Claim Size (£) Court Fee to Issue Claim (£) Our Fee (£) (Plus VAT) Default Judgement Costs
Up to 300 35 450 22
300-500 50 450 22
500-1,000 70 450 22
1,000-1,500 80 450 22
1,500-3,000 115 450 22
3,000-5,000 205 450 22
5,000-10,000 455 550 30
10,000-200,000 5% of the claim 5% of the claim 30
200,000+ 10,000 5% of the claim 70

Once a Judgment is entered, we charge £65.00 plus VAT for debts under £5,000 and £80.00 plus VAT for debts over £5,000.00. In case enforcement is required, we will confirm the cost with you in advance. Please note that if the debtor is a sole trader or an individual the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims will apply. This means that we cannot send out a standard Letter Before Action and are required to give the sole trader or individual a period of 30 days to respond to the Letter of Claim.

While this still falls under our “Pricing – Commercial Debt Recovery” policy, the above-mentioned protocol needs to be adhered to in such cases.

Stage 3: Enforcement

We offer fixed fees and disbursements for uncontested enforcement applications. The charges for these will be outlined in the table below. Please note that VAT will be applied to our charges at the standard rate

Enforcement Option

Our Charges (£)

(Plus VAT)

Petition Deposit Court Fee (£) Process Server Fee (£) (Plus VAT)
Application for an Order that the Debtor attends Court for questioning 300 59 100-200
Application for a Charging Order over single property and service ** 750-1,000 119
Application for Warrant of Control (Bailiffs) over Assets for County Court Matters*** 250 83
Application for Warrant of Control (County Court Bailiffs) over Money for County Court matters*** 250 130
Application for Warrant of Possession (County Court Bailiffs) for County Court matters*** 250 130
Application for a Writ of Control (recovery of money) Writ of Delivery (recovery of goods) or Writ of Possession (recovery of Land) for High Court Matters. (For Transfer up from County Court Judgments there may be additional costs.) 250 71
Application for Attachment of Earnings Order and service 500 119 100-200
Application for an Interim Third Party Debt Order and service 500 119 100-200
Final Third Party Debt Order and service 250-500 N/A
Statutory Demand

750-1,000

plus VAT and disbursements. (Cost includes the Preparation of the Statutory Demand and Personal Service. Does not include the costs of an application for alternative service if Personal Service cannot be made)

100-200 plus VAT and disbursements
Bankruptcy Petition* 1,500 plus VAT and disbursements. 990 302 100-200 plus VAT and disbursements
Winding Up Petition**** 1,500 plus VAT and disbursements. (Cost includes the Preparation of the Petition and Personal Service. Does not include the cost of an application for alternative service if Personal Service cannot be made) 1,600 302 100-200 plus VAT and disbursements

* Please note that our fees and Counsel’s fees for attending any necessary hearing are not included in the fixed fees for uncontested enforcement applications. Additionally, Official Copies of the Land Registry entry for the property being charged will incur a charge of £6.00-£10.00 per document, or any other necessary disbursements.

** If the Judgment Creditor wishes to register the Interim Charging Order at Land Registry, additional costs and disbursements will apply.

*** Please note that if enforcement is unsuccessful, a Compliance Fee of £75.00 plus VAT (£90.00) will be payable to the Bailiffs.

**** Please note that the cost of publishing an insolvency notice in the Gazette is £82.00 plus VAT disbursements, and Counsel’s fees for attending any hearing are not included in this cost.

Defended cases

In the event that a claim is disputed at the pre-litigation stage or is defended following the issue of proceedings (by the filing of a Defence, Part Admission or Application to set judgment aside), Hawkins Law will prepare an initial report for you. This report will provide a brief summary of the nature of the dispute and an estimate of the initial costs to handle the case based on the hourly rates outlined below:

Fee earner level Hourly rate (excluding VAT)
Partner £370
Principal Associate £320
Associate £275
Solicitor/ Chartered Legal Executive £245
Trainee £185
Paralegal £185

Please note that these rates may be subject to change and are exclusive VAT, disbursements, and any other expenses incurred during the handling of the case.

Estimated Timescale

Assuming we receive all the necessary information and documentation promptly, we aim to produce the Letter Before Action within 3 business days upon receiving your instructions.

Please note that we cannot accurately predict the duration for receiving payment from the other party. This depends on various factors such as the need to initiate a claim and the promptness of the other party in making payment upon receiving a Judgment in default. In cases where the other party complies with the requested timelines, the resolution process may take less than 8 weeks.

However, if enforcement action becomes necessary, the overall timeline will extend, and we will provide you with indicative timeframes at that stage.