Debt collection in UK

Debt Collection in the UK

When dealing with debt collection in the UK, customers in the UK are generally better payers compared to other European countries. However, unpaid invoices still occur. A regular debt collection agency in the UK cannot do much more than what you can do. That’s why you can count on Bierens for a successful business debt recovery in the UK. When collecting in the UK, our debt recovery lawyers and debt collectors can assist clients with business debt recovery starting from the amicable phase to complex legally disputed claims. Because we start on a No Win No Fee basis, we are the most cost-effective solution for cross-border cases.

Submit your case before 16.00 pm and we will act today!

Allow our debt collectors in the UK to recover your invoices

  • Step 1: Uploading your case can be done within two minutes. All you have to do is enter your details, your debtor’s details and information regarding your unpaid invoice in the UK. You can also include any relevant documents here.
  • Step 2: We start our investigation by checking international credit reports and local databases such as Companies House. This way we can understand why the invoice was not paid and define our strategy.
  • Step 3: Your caseworker will send a demand letter, in which your debtor will be made aware of the outstanding amount and will be requested to pay.
  • Step 4: Your caseworker will reach out to you to discuss the approach you wish to have. Moreover, you can track the status of your case 24/7 through our online portal.
  • Step 5: If your debtor in the UK fails to respond to the demand letter, then we will contact your debtor by phone and in writing. We will personally speak with your debtor to avoid any miscommunication.
  • Step 6: 95% of our cases are solved in the extrajudicial phase without court intervention. With the expertise of our native in-house specialists and the various resources that we have in store for your debtor, we can collect your claim. If your debtor refuses to pay or disputes the case, we can continue in the legal phase in consultation with you. Before doing so, we extensively discuss your options and costs. If you wish to proceed with taking legal action, we could, for example, send your debtor a letter before action, to formally commence legal proceedings.
Submit your case before 16.00pm and we will act today!

Debt collectors in the UK

We have lawyers who are specialised in the laws of England and Wales. They know the legal system inside out and can help you recover your claim in the amicable phase and advise in the legal stage. With our contacts across the UK, we can have claims issued and enforced throughout England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Free advice from the best debt collection specialists

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  • Fast solutions for your cases
  • Real measures to recover your payments
  • The best results for the lowest costs

Cost of debt recovery in the UK: No Win No Fee

The cost of debt recovery in the UK depends on whether your case is solved with or without court intervention. When solving your case in the extrajudicial phase, we work on a No Win No Fee basis. If you wish to proceed with legal intervention, then we will always discuss a fixed fee or hourly rate in advance. You can find a complete overview here.

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Debt collection in UK

Taking legal action: how does judicial debt collection in the UK work?

If collecting your claim in the amicable phase is unsuccessful, then we can take legal action in consultation with you. However, before doing so, we will first have to determine which court is applicable for your debt collection in the UK. It is worth noting that the UK consists of three different jurisdictions that have their own laws and procedures. As a result, there are different options for claims in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Debt collection procedures in England and Wales

Debt collection laws in England and Wales may differ compared to the laws in your country. There are specific procedures that can be initiated when dealing with debt collection in the UK. When initiating legal proceedings, the request must be submitted to the appropriate court depending on the value and complexity of your claim and where your debtor is located. There are several legal procedures that can be initiated, such as the Small Claims Procedure, Fast Track Procedure and Multi-track Procedure. If your case is successful following the procedure, then you will be granted judgement by the Court. After that, you will be able to enforce your judgment with the following options discussed below.

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Debt collection enforcement UK

Debt collection enforcement in the UK

A bailiff in the UK, debt collection agent, sheriff or debt recovery solicitor?

Within the debt collection industry in the UK, there are several key players and differences in the actions they can perform. For example, there are two different bailiffs who have different degrees of power. These are known as County Court bailiffs and High Court enforcement officers. Once we have obtained a court order, the verdict will still have to be executed. With our contacts in the UK, the appropriate bailiff can be appointed and recover your payment by using one of the following enforcement procedures.

Third-party debt order

If you are in possession of a judgment, the third-party debt order can be used to freeze the debtor’s bank account and/or assets. The third party will be ordered to pay the debtor's money that is in their possession to satisfy the outstanding judgment.

Charging order

A charging order allows a creditor to secure the judgment debt by imposing a charge over the debtor’s property, securities and other assets. This requires a Court application to be issued and for a Judge to make an order. This is a particularly useful form of debt collection enforcement when there is a substantial equity position in the asset.

Winding-up petition

The winding-up petition is a procedure that is also known as compulsory liquidation and can take up to 8 weeks. If your debtor refuses to pay, the court can order the compulsory liquidation of the company. Liquidators will then be appointed to distribute any surplus across creditors.

Why hire Bierens rather than a regular debt collection agency in the UK?

  • Highest collection rate throughout the UK
  • Extensive measures to recover your debt in the extrajudicial and judicial phase
  • No Win No Fee debt collection in the UK
  • Immediate action after uploading your claim
  • 24/7 tracking of your case in our online portal

“Did you know that when dealing with debt collection in the UK, three different jurisdictions are involved? These include the laws in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The appropriate jurisdiction depends on where your debtor is located.”

Limitation period in the UK

Under the laws of England and Wales, money claims based on breach of contract have a limitation period of 6 years while claims under the law in Scotland have a limitation period of 5 years. This applies as soon as the invoice is due and payable, meaning that you can no longer take legal action against your debtor as it will become ‘time barred’.

There are some exceptions whereby different limitation periods apply. For example, for cases in the transport sector, 1 year is applicable instead. In some countries, limitation periods can be interrupted by sending a demand letter. Under the laws of England and Wales, the limitation period of invoices can be extended by a formal recognition of the outstanding amount or partial payment by the debtor.

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Debt collection agencies in the UK

Whether you are dealing with simple debt recovery in the UK or a complex legal matter, our experts can help you throughout the UK in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can visit our full overview here.

International debt collection in the UK

No matter where your debtor is located, our experts can help you with your international debt collection cases too. With over 115 experts from Europe’s leading economies, we have experts who can overcome language and cultural barriers and can explain the differences in debt collection regulations.

International debt collection

Start your debt collection in the UK today

Start your debt collection case in the UK today! While our UK Desk gets started on your case, you can resume your regular business operations. Upload your case for immediate action or contact our experts today.

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Free advice from the best debt collection specialists

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  • Fast solutions for your cases
  • Real measures to recover your payments
  • The best results for the lowest costs

Find out how we have helped others with debt collection in the UK

From simple debt collection cases to complex legal matters, from small businesses to multinationals across different industries, our specialists have assisted over 24.000 companies worldwide. Find out how our international debt collection specialists and lawyers have helped other companies in a similar situation.

Frequently asked questions about debt recovery in the UK

How does debt collection work in the UK?

Debt collection in the UK always starts in the extrajudicial phase where we send your debtor demand letters and contact them by phone. If your debtor disputes the claim or fails to respond, then we can discuss further options including legal action.

How will you recover my debt in the UK?

Our debt collection strategy starts in the amicable phase without court intervention first, followed by legal action upon your request. Our approach is always firm and respectful, and you will always be informed of the status of your case.

What are the costs for debt collection in the UK?

We handle all out of court cases on a No Win No Fee basis, also in the UK. Our starting fee is €165,- for administrative costs. We aim to recover the principal amount including interest and costs from your debtor as much as possible, however, this differs per case. If you decide to take legal action against your debtor, then we move to an hourly or fixed fee. We do not have any hidden costs and will first consult you before proceeding with any action.

How long does an average debt collection procedure in the UK last?

This depends on each situation and debtor. The amicable phase takes a relatively short time because we provide your debtor with limited time to complete the payment. When starting your case, your caseworker will provide an estimate of the duration of your case. Should your debtor fail to respond, then our specialists and lawyers can provide you with an expected outcome or course of action within 4 weeks. If legal proceedings are necessary, the debt collection process takes longer, which depends on the legal proceedings and whether the debtor raises a defence.

Will Brexit have an impact on business contracts?

Yes, contracts with your debtors will be affected by Brexit, which is why we recommend to re-draft your contracts and general terms and conditions to safeguard your position. For more information, it is best to contact our specialists.

When is a debt collection case taken to court?

Our preference is to collect your claim without court intervention. Therefore, we always start a collection in the amicable phase. If your debtor fails to respond or disputes the claim, you can proceed with legal action. We will only do so in consultation with you first.

What chances do I have for a successful recovery in the UK?

The chance for a successful recovery depends on the nature of your debt collection case. 95% of the cases are solved on a No Win No Fee basis. Our specialists and lawyers always do their utmost to ensure to collect your claim as fast and efficiently as possible. We always make sure to give you honest and practical advice that will deliver you the best results.

What legal possibilities do I have for debt collection in the UK?

If legal proceedings are necessary, we can proceed with a suitable procedure such as the small claims procedure, fast track procedure, multi-track procedure or winding up petition. Once obtaining an official court verdict, we can have measures enforced.

How long does it take before a debt is written off in the UK?

Under the laws of England and Wales, invoices have a limitation period of 6 years while claims under the law in Scotland have a limitation period of 5 years. This applies as soon as the invoice is due and payable. Under the laws of England and Wales, the limitation period of invoices can be interrupted by a formal recognition of the outstanding amount or partial payment by the debtor.

Which documents are required when taking my debtor to court?

If your claim is taken to court, then there are several documents that are required to substantiate your claim. This includes a copy of the contract, applicable terms and conditions, order confirmation, proof of delivery, invoices and a copy of the correspondence with your debtor. If additional documents are required, your caseworker will inform you.

What do I do if my debtor is insolvent?

If your debtor is unable to pay because of insolvency, it is advised to contact our lawyers. You may be required to submit a proof of debt so that we can further determine your chance of recovery.

How much does it cost to take someone to a small claims court in the UK?

The small claims procedure can be used for claims below £10.000. Because court intervention is required, a fixed fee or an hourly rate will be discussed with you in advance.

How long does a small claim take the UK?

Your debtor will be requested to respond to the small claims procedure within 14 days. If the debtor does not respond to the claim, then you can request a default judgement from the Court. Thereafter, you can enforce the default judgement to recover the payment. If the debtor disputes the claim then your claim will follow a procedure that ends with a final trial.

What happens if you win in a small claims court and the debtor doesn’t pay?

As you will be in possession of a judgement for an amount of a claim, you can then take enforcement steps. We will advise you on the best enforcement procedure to receive payment and provide an overview of the additional costs.

How do winding up petitions work?

Under appropriate circumstances, you may be able to commence winding-up petition proceedings. First, your debtor will receive a final warning to pay the outstanding amount within 21 days. If your debtor fails to pay, then you can issue a winding-up petition. If the order is made, then the debtor's company will be liquidated with the collected amount distributed among the creditors.