What is the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims?

Business disputes, especially when it comes to debt recovery, can feel like pulling your teeth out. To complicate things, the rules for the correct legal processes change regularly. But while they might seem confusing, at heart the rules of the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims are trying to make debt recovery as painless as possible.

We break down that process in clear and simple to follow steps, helping you to understand the processes that you need to follow to successfully recover your debt.

Watch our Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims advice video

In this video, Liam, our Head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution, discusses the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims in detail, explaining the legal requirements that the creditor has to follow in order to successfully reclaim their debt.

Should you prefer that someone else handles the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims for you, our experienced Litigation & Dispute Resolution team are on-hand to take away the stresses of debt recovery. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us directly below.

Enquire about our debt recovery services

What is the process of claiming a debt from an individual?

To follow the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims correctly, formal action against a debtor must start with the sending of a formal Letter of Claim, with a blank reply form and a financial statement.

The reply form is to confirm whether or not they accept that the debt is due, while the statement is to set out their financial position so both parties can negotiate a payment arrangement.

The Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims - Issue a letter of claim

How long do I have to wait for a reply?

Once the Letter of Claim is received, the creditor must wait at least 30 days for a response before issuing proceedings.

However, once the debtor has returned the required information, the creditor must then wait another 30 days from the receipt of this reply. This essentially creates a buffer of 60 days that the creditor must wait before taking the dispute to court. Of course, this is an extra two months for the dispute to be resolved organically.

What happens if I don’t follow the protocol?

If a business creditor issues any proceedings having failed to follow the Pre-Action Protocol, they are likely to be met with criticism by the court.

This could allow the court to issue sanctions on the creditor, sanctions could include pausing the court proceedings and cost sanctions. Cost sanctions could make the creditor liable for the cost of the debtors legal fees. This is because those fees might not have been needed, if the creditor had followed the correct Pre-Action Protocol.

We would therefore advise that if you are owed money you should consider starting formal action swiftly, given the increased time that must have passed before you are entitled to seek recovery through the court.

At Astle Paterson, we can take some of the stress away from recovering your debt by handling as much of the Pre-Action Protocol as possible. We can begin with a fixed-fee consultation to better understand your situation and advise on the best course of action to get the result you would like.

Get a fixed-fee initial consultation to discuss your options

If you need advice about recovering a debt from an individual or sole trader, our experienced solicitors are on hand to help guide and advise you through the process, ultimately getting your money back to you.

Or enquire right now using the form below

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