Often when people think of litigation, they think lengthy county court battles and £1000’s of costs. This just simply is not the case for the majority of debts. We offer litigation services for all sectors of debt collection. Whether you’re a business, individual, landlord or tenant. You should not rely on the information on this page as legal advice. You should contact a solicitor for legal advice.
We find litigation a very effective method of debt collection on both disputed and undisputed debts. The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) govern the process of making a claim in the County Court. The introduction of the CPR rules into the England and Wales litigation system was to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Since the introduction of the CPR, they encourage to use litigation only as a last resort. The claimant therefore must explore other methods of dispute resolution. If neither party does this, the Court may penalise the party, even if their claim is successful.
The general litigation process
- Pre-Action Protocol – We send the debtor a letter to respond within 14 or 30 days;
- Submit the Claim Form – Send the Claim Form to the Court including Particulars of Claim and Evidence of Claim;
- Notice of Issue – The Court will send you this when they receive the Claim Form. This will have a date of which the debtor will need to reply by.
- Request For Judgment – You send this once the date has expired and complete depending on the Debtors reply.
The letters we send are in accordance of the Courts Civil Procedure Rules – Pre-Action Protocol.
If the debtor is a Limited Company, we send a 14 day letter. Whereas, if the debtor is a Sole Trader or an Individual we send a 30 day letter.
Where there is no response, or we cannot resolve any dispute, we proceed to submitting a Claim.
The defendant will have the opportunity to settle the debt out of court. If they do not, this will severely damage their credit rating once you obtain a County Court Judgment.
Submit the Claim Form
We compile your evidence and create the Claim Form prior to Pre Action Protocol. We send the Court the Claim Forms when the defendant does not respond or Dispute Resolution fails.
The Court will send you a Notice of Issue and the defendant a Response Pack. The Response Pack will include a leaflet and 3 forms. These are an Acknowledgement of Service, Admission and Defence & Counterclaim. The defendant will need to read the leaflet, fill in 1 form and send it back to the Court.
Notice of Issue
- Acknowledgement of Service
- The defendant has requested more time to respond to the Court.
- It is likely, if there is no dispute, the Defendant will complete the Admission. The defendant will have to also complete how they intend to pay the debt. You receive a copy of this Admission whether it is by instalments or in one lump sum.
- Defence & Counterclaim
- The Court will allocate your case to a particular track, send you a Directions Questionnaire and copy of their Defence. You must complete the Directions Questionnaire and send to both the Court and the Defendant. There are 3 different tracks the Court can allocate depend on the size of the claim.
Court Allocation for a Defence
Small Claims Track
- The Court will usually allocate your claim to the small claims track when the claim is less than £10,000. The purpose of this litigation track is to deal with simple cases without the need for overwhelming pre-hearing preparation. The Court does not necessarily expect either party within this track to have a legal representation.
- A Small Claims Track trial is carried out informally at the Judge’s discretion and may can conclude within an hour.
- If the claim is between £10,000 and £25,000, the Court will allocate the claim to the fast track. The Court still maintain an active role in leading the litigation proceedings. The Court use its case management system to ensure the costs of all parties are kept to a minimum. To achieve this the Court issues a timetable of directions which the parties must follow for preparing witness statements and disclosing information. The Court may penalise either party that does not adhere to the timetable.
- The purpose of a Fast Track cases is to resolve all outstanding issues at a hearing that does not last for more than 1 day. All issues regarding liability and costs should be decided by the Judge at the hearing and a final order made. A Statement of Costs must be submitted to Court prior to the hearing to ensure the Judge can make an order for costs.
- The Court will allocate the claim to this track when a value exceeds £25,000. These cases can be extremely different in nature, they can be relatively simple to the hugely complex. The Court’s use of its case management system shows the different complexities of each case. A simple litigation case is likely to be dealt with by a similar timetable of directions as the fast track. A more complex case could require several pre-trial hearings or Case Management Conferences. These are necessary to pinpoint the issues and ensure that all the information is gathered prior to trial. Multi track cases are now also subject to costs management by the Court.
- At the final stages of a Multi Track hearing the Judge will decide which party should pay the costs. However, the Judge is unlikely to confirm the exact amount payable. If the parties cannot agree on the amount of costs, another Judge will hold another hearing in the future.
Where there is no need for a Hearing, you can Request the Judgment
If the defendant has not responded and you have heard nothing from the court, we can Request the Judgment and conclude Litigation. We can also Request the Judgment if the defendant has filed an Admission and not paid.
County Court Judgment (CCJ)
Once you have your County Court Judgment (CCJ) you need to then enforce it if the defendant does not pay. There are several methods of Enforcement. Take a look at our Enforcement Services page for more information.