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Debt Recovery

Experienced litigation solicitors who offer a practical, realistic and cost-effective litigation service.

At BES Legal Ltd, we assist individuals and commercial clients with debt recovery actions. Efficient and effective debt recovery is essential but can be extremely time consuming and often requires great sensitivity. We’ll work in partnership with you to recover debts, whilst still aiming to preserve your relationship with the debtor whenever possible.

The majority of debts can be recovered without the need for legal proceedings. There are four main stages to the legal process of collecting a UK business debt.

Letter Before Action

Before issuing any legal proceedings a Letter Before Action should be sent to a debtor. A Letter Before Action is a formal letter which sets out what is owed from a debtor. It gives the debtor a set time period (usually 7 days) in which to pay. On occasions, we may not know the debtor’s whereabouts and in such instance would instruct a tracing agent to find this information. If the debtor fails to respond or pay, we will issue proceedings to recover the debt.

Legal Claim

If you send a Letter Before Action to your debtor but you do not receive a satisfactory response, then the next stage in the legal process is to issue legal proceedings through the County Court. This is a formal process where the debtor will be sent a court form requiring them to pay the debt, plus interest and costs within 14 days. If the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 applies, compensation of £40 – £100 per invoice will also be added to the value of the claim.


A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a Court Order that confirms that the debtor has defaulted on payment. A CCJ can be obtained immediately after the expiry date of the County Court Claim. The CCJ is the final decision by the Court which gives you the power to take enforcement action in order to collect the debt. The CCJ is also recorded against the debtor’s credit record affecting their ability to obtain credit.


Once a County Court Judgment has been obtained, it is then possible to ‘enforce’ that debt immediately. The most common method of enforcement is to instruct a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer (depending on the amount of the debt) to attend the address of the debtor and collect the debt or seize goods. Residential properties, bailiffs can only gain peaceful entry to seize goods and only non-essential goods can be taken.

There are other enforcement methods that can be used depending on the circumstances of the individual case, such as Attachment of Earnings or a Third-Party Debt Order.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Unpaid Invoices For Goods and/or Services
  • Loan and Finance Agreements
  • Rent Arrears
  • Retention Monies
  • Unpaid Judgments


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