• Crystal clear debt recovery legal fees

How much will it cost to recover a debt owed to my business?

At Clarke Willmott we have a business recovery unit who regularly act for small to medium sized businesses in the collection of unpaid debts. There are other teams at Clarke Willmott who deal with more complex business disputes that require a more tailored approach. The information set out below is for our business recovery team. Please see our services pages for our other litigation teams to view the range of other services we offer.

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Our standard debt recovery charges are on a fixed costs basis save for instalment monitoring and defended/complex actions. Our charges and disbursements (including Court fees) will be payable whether or not they can be recovered from the Debtor. Where a charge is recoverable from the Debtor, we will endeavour to seek payment of that and also seek to recover interest on the debt.

Full fee details:

Pre-litigation fees

We aim to make the collection process simple and cost-effective. We charge a fixed fee proportionate to the debt amount.

The pre-litigation fee includes our initial administrative costs, the pre-action protocol compliant letter, pre-legal discussions and advising you of responses received:

Wherever possible, we will claim interest on the debt and late payment compensation on your behalf.

The late payment compensation claimed will be equal to the fees we charge you. So assuming your debtor pays the debt and costs in full, you are effectively reimbursed for our charges. In addition, you receive the interest payment on the debt.

Note: Late payment compensation can be claimed on all debts arising from business to business transactions, except for certain types of continuing contracts.

Pre-legal action
Debt value Our charge excluding VAT.
(VAT is payable)
Up to £999 £40
£1,000-£9,999 £70
£10,000+ £100

Timescales

Where the debtor is an individual/sole trader, the initial letter must allow a minimum of 30 days for the debtor to reply.

Where the debtor is a company, the initial letter must allow a minimum of 14 days for the debtor to reply.

It is a requirement of the Court that you endeavour to resolve all issues prior to litigation and accordingly, you may be obliged to allow the debtor additional time to pay or seek advice.

Legal action

We charge fixed fees proportionate to the debt amount. If a defence is received, we will provide a time based fee estimate (see hourly rates below).

On issuing a claim
Debt value Our charge excluding VAT.
(VAT is payable)
Court fee
(VAT not payable)
Up To £299 £100 £35
£300 – £499 £100 £50
£500 – £999 £100 £70
£1,000 – £1,499 £250 £80
£1,500 – £2,999 £250 £115
£3,000 – £4,999 £250 £205
£5,000 – £9,999 £450 £455
£10,000 – £199,999 £750 5% of the claim
£200,000+ £750 £10,000

Timescales

Once the Court issues the Claim Form, the debtor has 14 days from the date of service to reply.  Where the debtor indicates an intention to defend, then this will extend to 28 days from the date of service.

Upon expiration of that period if no defence is received, we will proceed to apply for Judgment.

If a Defence is received, the timescales will be dependent upon the particular Court, the value and the complexity.  We will keep you advised of progress throughout the case.

On requesting judgment our charge excluding VAT (VAT is payable)
Debt value (including costs and interest claimed) Default of
acknowledgement
Default of
defence
Admission;
proposal accepted
Admission;
proposal rejected
Up to £4,999 £22 £25 £40 £55
£5,000+ £30 £35 £55 £70

Enforcement Action

Enforcement action may be required to recover an outstanding debt after Judgment. If it is, we will advise you on the most appropriate method of enforcement to use and the costs that will apply.

Timescales

We are unable to provide a timescale on enforcement action as this will depend on many factors including the Court’s caseload and the debtor’s circumstances.

Enforcement options
Action Our charge excluding VAT (VAT is payable) Court fee (VAT not payable) Other Disbursements
Warrant of Control (instructing a County Court Bailiff) £40 £110
Writ of Control (over £600) (instructing a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO)) £175 £175 Abortive Fee: £75 plus VAT payable to the HCEO if they are unable to recover. Fees may be payable if you withdraw a Writ or, in the rare circumstance, that a claim to an asset arises which you wish to contest. Those can only be calculated at that time. You will be advised of such costs.
Attachment of Earnings Attachment of Earnings £110
Third Party Debt Order £210 £110 Agent’s fees for attendance at hearing. Usually £85 plus VAT.
Information Order £115 £55 Process Server’s Fee usually £80 plus VAT. Oath Fee: £7.00 (non VATable) Agent’s fees for attendance at hearing. Usually £85 plus VAT £110 plus VAT.
Application for substituted service of Information Order £50 £100
Additional hearing fee Information Order £20 N/A Agent’s fee. Usually £85 plus VAT per hearing.
Charging Order £210 per property £110 per property £40 Land Registration Fee per property (VAT is not payable). Agent’s fees for attendance at hearing where required: £85 plus VAT per hearing

Miscellaneous Action

The above charges list our standard fees for debt recovery. There are some situations where action may not follow the standard process and additional work may need to be undertaken. We are able to support you with this. Where possible, we will offer you a fixed fee for that action. It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of what situations can arise but the miscellaneous action list below covers the most common of those situations.

Miscellaneous action (if required)
Action Our charge excluding VAT (VAT is payable) Court fee (VAT not payable) Other Disbursements
Process Server’s Fee £80 plus VAT
Solicitor service of proceedings £50
Telephone mediation £125
Tomlin order £125 £110
Objection to strike off £50
Service outside of jurisdiction £68.25
Application to transfer to Scotland £220 per debtor £100
£7 oath fee
You will be responsible for the fees and costs of the relevant agent.
Liaising with agents outside of jurisdiction £20 per letter
Instructing trace agent (standard trace) £20 Up to £37 plus VAT
Instructing trace agent (employment trace) £20 Up to £40 plus VAT
Instructing trace agent (asset search) £20 Up to £80 plus VAT
Land Registry search £6 per search
Instalment monitoring 10% of each instalment plus VAT. If collected by the HCEO, 8% of each instalment
Non instalment High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) payments 8% of the payment received plus VAT
Application on Notice Dependent upon the nature of the application. Based on an hourly rate, but we will advise and cap as per defended actions. £255
Application without Notice or By Consent £255

 

Defended/Complex Actions
Our charge excluding VAT
(VAT is payable)
Hearing Fee
(VAT is not payable)
Agent’s Fee
(VAT is payable)
Dependent upon value and complexity. To be agreed with you before being incurred. We will charge at an hourly rate (see rates below) but will agree a costs cap with you. As an example, for a debt of £5,000 where costs would not be recoverable from the debtor, we would charge an hourly rate but agree a cap at £300 to make it commercially viable for you. This includes drafting witness statements, directions questionnaires, instructing agents and advice to you and liaising with the other side. Hearing Fees are payable to the Court in advance of a trial. Where attendance at Court is necessary, we will need to instruct an agent to conduct that hearing on our behalf. Standard charges are below. VAT will be added to these. More than one hearing may be necessary.
Amount Claimed Hearing Fee
Up to £300 £25 Small Claims/Applications £175 – £400 depending upon type of hearing, time allocated and level of agent required.
£300.01 to £500 £55
£500.01 to £1,000 £80
£1,000.01 to £1,500 £115
£1,500.01 to £3,000 £170
£3,000.01 and above £335
Fast Track £545 £430-£1485 for the first day depending upon debt value plus £750 for any subsequent consecutive days.
Multi Track £1,090 £1500 for the first day plus £750 for any subsequent consecutive days.

Hourly rates for our Debt Recovery Solicitors

Court Fees are subject to change from time to time. The Court fees stated in the tables above are correct as at 01/07/18.
Where hourly rates are charged, they will vary depending upon who is involved in carrying out the work.

Status Hourly rate excluding VAT
(VAT is payable)
Partner £230.00
Technical Director £200.00
Associate £175.00
Team Supervisor £150.00
Caseworker £95.00

Insolvency Action

Insolvency is not strictly speaking a form of debt recovery. However, in some cases you may wish to discuss with us the viability of taking such action. Below is an overview of our charges and we would be happy to discuss the process with you.

Insolvency action
Action Our charge excluding VAT (VAT is payable) Other Disbursements Court fee (VAT not payable)
Statutory Demand £175
Process Server’s Fee (where the debtor is an individual) £80 plus VAT
Preparation of Bankruptcy Petition (if debtor is an individual) £350
Company Search Fee £42 plus VAT
Preparation of Winding Up Petition (if debtor is a company / partnership) £450
Filing Agent’s Fee (per document filed) £10 plus VAT
Process Server’s Fee £80 plus VAT
Court fee for Insolvency Action £280
Official Receiver’s Deposit – Bankruptcy (if debtor is an individual) £990
Official Receiver’s Deposit – Winding Up (if debtor is a company / partnership) £1,600
London Gazette fee (Winding Up only) (if debtor is a company / partnership) £56.50 plus VAT
Attendance at hearings (per hearing) £180 – £250 depending upon Court
Administration fee for refund of Official Receiver’s Deposit £100

VAT & disbursements

Our fees and some disbursements are subject to VAT at 20%. Disbursements are charges payable in addition to our fees, normally to a third party. They can include fees payable to the Land Registry, barristers or search providers. The amount charged for the disbursements depends upon a number of variables so we will be able to advise you of the correct charges when we have further information from you.

Contact a debt recovery solicitor

Kat Quinton photo, Partner Business Recovery Unit

Kat Quinton email-alt

Partner/Debt Recovery Team Systems Support Manager

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton

Kat is a Chartered Legal Executive and Partner in the Debt Recovery team, leading the delivery of tailored collection systems for clients like insurers and utility companies.

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Philip Roberts photo, Senior Associate Business Recovery Unit

Philip Roberts email-alt

Partner

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton

Phil is a Chartered Legal Executive and Partner in Clarke Willmott's Debt Recovery team specialising in defended debt recovery litigation and insolvency actions.

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Anna O'Reilly photo, Team Co-ordinator Business Recovery Unit

Anna O’Reilly email-alt

Team Manager

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton

Anna is the team manager of the Debt Recovery team overseeing the day to day running of the team and dealing with the recovery of service charge arrears.

View profile >

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