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1 debt recovery the complete legal solution for your business

2 Maintaining a good cash flow is vital to ensuring that your business stays ahead of the game. Whether your business suffers from consistent bad payers or you have a single large debtor, Franklins Solicitors LLP can offer you an effective and flexible solution. As our Debt Recovery Team is part of the firm s Civil and Commercial Litigation Department we are able to represent you at all stages of the litigation process. Unlike some other debt recovery companies we will not abandon you if your claim becomes defended and you will be able to check the progress of your claim 24 hours a day via our on-line case tracking service. To assist you when budgeting, the majority of our fees are fixed amounts and there are no hidden costs or contingency fees. Thank you for taking the time to read about our services and we look forward to assisting you in the future. Franklins Debt Recovery Team

3 letter of claim A Letter of Claim (LoC) is a formal letter to your debtor requesting payment of your outstanding account within a set deadline. It is effectively the final warning before legal action is commenced and in many cases this will be enough to prompt the debtor to pay. Alternatively, it may be the first step towards negotiations in cases where there is a dispute or revive negotiations that have previously failed. In addition to the amount owed we will, if applicable, calculate and demand interest and compensation which you may be entitled to by law. If the debt is not paid by the time stipulated, then the next stage will be to issue Court proceedings. If you have already sent a letter similar to a Letter of Claim yourself then you can move straight on to the Court stage; however, you may feel that an official letter from a solicitor will demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and thereby prompt the debtor to pay without the need for Court proceedings. There are two different Letter of Claim services open to you. Standard Service: Under the Standard Service we will direct the debtor to contact you in response to the letter so that you can stay in control of negotiations and discussions. If you are unable to recover the debt or if you do not receive a response, then we will advise and assist you with the next stages. Plus Service: Under the Plus Service we will invite the debtor to contact us with settlement proposals. We will take your instructions and negotiate with the debtor on your behalf. If negotiations reach a stalemate or are unsatisfactory then we will advise you of your next options in light of the negotiations. A Letter of Claim often prompts the debtor to pay without having to resort to further legal proceedings.

4 county court proceedings If the Letter of Claim doesn t produce a satisfactory outcome then you will need to start legal proceedings. Issuing your claim in the County Court: A Claim Form and Particulars of Claim will be filed at Court providing the following information: the name and address of the debtor, to what the debt relates to, proof of the debt such as an invoice, and calculation of any interest or compensation award. There will also be a Court fee depending on the amount claimed. Court tracks: To help them deal with a claim, the Court will allocate it to a category which is called a track. Tracks depend on the amount being claimed and the complexity of the case and dictate the way in which the claim is handled by the Court. We will advise you under which track we think your claim should be managed. Progress of proceedings: The debtor will either not respond, pay the whole of the debt immediately or provide a proposed payment schedule, or dispute part of or the whole of the claim and file a defence giving their reasons. Next steps: The next section sets out what to expect if the claim is defended. Otherwise it will be possible to ask the Court to issue a Judgment against the debtor. This is a document which sets out the amount owed and the terms under which it should be repaid. If the debtor does not pay, you can use the Judgment to enforce the debt against them. Service of the claim on the debtor: Once the Court has received the documents they will serve these on the debtor at the address given on the Claim Form. They will also return a sealed copy, (a copy stamped by the Court) to us. If negotiations stall or if you receive no response to the Letter of Claim, the next step is to start proceedings in order to bring your debtor to justice.

5 Once proceedings have been served upon the debtor they have one of three options available to them:- admit the debt and pay the amount claimed dispute the claim and file a defence dispute the claim and put forward a counterclaim Defence: The debtor has fourteen days to file a defence at Court. The defence must deal separately with each allegation and it ought to give a reason for the denial. defended claims Counterclaims: If the debtor feels they have also suffered a loss then they may wish to make a counterclaim. It then becomes necessary for you to file a defence of your own within fourteen days. Once a defence or counterclaim has been filed, the Court will set a timetable to ensure the claim progresses smoothly. Typical directions covered in the timetable include:- Filing of allocation questionnaires: these provide important information to the Court which will help a Judge manage the case. Exchange of witness evidence: these are detailed statements putting forward each side s version of events and deal with potential arguments. In the unlikely event that your claim is defended we will be able to continue acting for you because our Debt Recovery Department is part of our experienced Civil & Commercial Litigation Department. Disclosure of evidence: here both parties must disclose anything relevant to the case (except for certain privileged documents) regardless of whether it supports their case or not. Expert evidence: instruction of experts to resolve scientific or technical issues. Court date: the parties have an opportunity to put forward their version of events and cross-examine the other side. The judge will then make a decision which each party must abide by. In certain circumstances it may be possible to appeal a decision.

6 enforcement If your debtor refuses to comply with a Judgment for the payment of money then there are a number of options available to you to enforce this. More than one method can be used at the same time. Obtaining information from debtors To enforce a Judgment speedily and ensure the best method is used it is useful to know about the debtor s financial situation. The Court will order the debtor to attend a meeting to be questioned on their financial means, assets and liabilities. Execution against goods This is the most common method of enforcement. The Court will authorise a sheriff or bailiff to attend the debtor s address to seize goods for sale at public auction. Attachment of Earnings Providing the debtor is employed an order can be sought that directs his or her employers to make periodical deductions from the debtor s earnings. Third Party Debt Order This will pass on the debt to a third party that owes the debtor money. If the debtor s bank account is in credit it may be possible to obtain an order requiring the bank to pay off your debt with the money held in the account. Bankruptcy / Insolvency This option can be used as an alternative to court proceedings or as a method of enforcement. Charging Order This can secure your debt against certain assets, normally property or land. It prevents the debtor from selling the property without first using the proceeds to pay off your debt. It is also possible to obtain an order from the Court forcing a sale of the property. Once you have obtained your CCJ there are several methods of enforcement available to you. Enforcement by way of a sheriff or bailiff is often a good starting point.

7 Ewals Cargo Care BV The staff are very knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. The advice given is good. The Art Group Franklins Solicitors were established in 1982 and have two offices, one in Milton Keynes and the other in Northampton. We have experience in acting for a variety of organisations on a diverse range of commercial matters. We are proud to have been one of the first law firms to achieve all three of the quality standards, namely ISO 9001, Investors in People and The Law Society s Lexcel accreditation. We also have Law Society Panel Solicitors in numerous areas. We have used Franklins Solicitors for over ten years for all our debt collection litigation, they are fast and efficient thereby getting the results needed. They are at all times courteous and keep us updated with the progress of any given case together with the costs that are incurred which we have found to be competitive. O Riordan Bond Estate Agents [We] have always found Franklins staff to be extremely helpful, pro-active and consistently meet the high work expectations that we strive to achieve their response times are good which is what we demand to run an efficient credit control function for nineteen offices.

8 Milton Keynes Silbury Court Silbury Boulevard Central Milton Keynes MK9 2AF Northampton 14 Castilian Street Northampton NN1 1JX Tel: Fax: Tel: Fax:

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