Legal Services

Business Dispute Resolution Services

Even the best run businesses find themselves with problems from time to time. From disputes with customers, or suppliers, to unpaid invoices.

Going to court should always be seen as a last resort and our emphasis is on trying to resolve disputes before they get that far. We offer practical advice to help you reach a solution as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

More information on Mediation, going to court and Small Claims can be found here.

  • Why You Need Good Contracts more

    The contracts and other documentation that you use within your business are fundamental. They help to govern the way in which you deal with your suppliers and customers. Well drafted contracts will help to put you in control and strengthen your position in the event of a dispute.

    Aside from your own contracts and terms, many of your dealings are governed by law, such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) or The Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982 (as amended). On the whole, consumers have much more protection than businesses, so it is important that you know your obligations to your customers and ensure that you treat them fairly. Falling foul of various consumer regulations can be costly.

  • Unpaid Bills and Bad Debts more

    Bad debts are an inevitable problem in business. No doubt you will have your own credit control procedure, but from time to time you may get ignored. Sometimes, it only needs a “Solicitors letter” to prompt payment. We can help with this.

    Occasionally it may be necessary to start a Court claim to compel your customer to pay. Again we can help.

    Now and again however your customer may simply not have the means to pay and you will need to give careful consideration about whether to bring a claim though the Court, in case you are just throwing good money after bad. After all it doesn’t matter how strong your case is if your customer has no money.

    We can also help with debts owed to private individuals.

    How can we help?

    If you send us a copy of your unpaid invoice(s) (or details of the amount of money outstanding) together with a copy of any correspondence you have sent chasing payment we will send a letter to the debtor demanding payment. This will usually give the debtor between 14 and 30 days to settle their debt, depending on whether or not the debtor is a business or an individual. We charge a fixed fee for this.

    If your case is a little more complicated and a meeting (or initial advice) is required so you can explain how the debt has arisen we charge an additional fixed fee for this.

    If our letter results in payment of the money due that will be the end of the matter but if it doesn’t you will need to consider whether to bring a claim at Court. We are able to deal with this for you and to help you enforce any County Court Judgment if the debtor fails to make payment even though the Court has ordered them to do so.

    Typically an uncontested debt claim will take between 28 and 42 days from the date on which the Claim is lodged with the Court to the date of the County Court Judgment. Enforcement of the Judgment may take considerably longer and we will advise you about the likely timeframe as and when we reach that stage.

    Sometimes a debtor will say that they do not owe the money claimed which can make things much more lengthy, complicated and expensive but we are able to advise you as to your options.

    Debt recovery work is carried out by either Jonathan Hardiker or Suzie Fisher at our Kendal office. Their details can be found in the Our Team section of the website.

    What will it cost?

    Our hourly rate as of 1 January 2021 is between £213 and £223 an hour plus VAT depending on the lawyer dealing with the matter.

    STAGE 1 – Pre-letter meeting or advice

    If a meeting or advice is required before we can send a letter we will charge a fixed fee of £100 plus VAT for that meeting/advice.

    STAGE 2 – Letter of claim

    Sending a Letter of Claim under the Pre-Action Protocol for Bad Debts – fixed fee of £50 plus VAT

    [If a detailed interest calculation is required, this will be charged separately and we will agree the cost of this with you in advance].

    STAGE 3 – Response to letter of claim

    If the debtor disputes the debt, or engages in correspondence to arrange a payment plan, we will advise you of your options including the likely costs and any further work we do will be charged in accordance with our hourly rate.

    STAGE 4 – Issuing Proceedings

    If the debtor does not pay and you decide that you want to start a Court claim we will charge a fixed fee of £200 plus VAT to prepare the Court documents, lodge them with the Court and arrange for them to be served on the debtor. In addition there will be a Court issue fee to pay as follows:-

    Claim amount

    Court issued claim

    Money Claim online MCOL

    Up to £300

    £35

    £25

    £300.01 to £500

    £50

    £35

    £500.01 to £1,000

    £70

    £60

    £1,000.01 to £1,500

    £80

    £70

    £1,500.01 to £3,000

    £115

    £105

    £3,000.01 to £5,000

    £205

    £185

    £5,000.01 to £10,000

    £455

    £410

    £10,000.01 to £100,000

    5% of the claim

    4.5% of the claim

    £100,000.01 to £200,000

    5% of the claim

    You cannot make a claim online

    More than £200,000

    £10,000

    You cannot make a claim online

    Fees correct as at May 2021



    STAGE 5 – Judgment or defended claim.


    If the debtor does not defend the County Court claim we will enter Judgment against the debtor for which we will charge a further £50 plus VAT. There are no additional Court fees to pay at this stage.

    If the debtor defends the County Court claim we will advise you of your options including the likely costs and any further work we do will be charged in accordance with our hourly rate.

    How much it is likely to cost to be represented in a defended claim very much depends on the circumstances of the individual case and we will provide you with an estimate of likely costs at that stage. There will be further fees to pay to the Court for the final hearing and any applications you make.

    Please be aware that if your claim is for less than £10,000 a defended case will most likely to dealt with as a Small Claims Hearing. For Small Claims it is extremely rare for your legal costs to be recovered from an opponent, even if you win. It is not usually economic to be represented by a solicitor in Small Claims proceedings, but we will advise you of your options.

    STAGE 6 - Enforcement


    If, despite a Judgment being entered against the debtor they fail to pay the amount ordered we can help you try to enforce the Judgment. The various options are as follows: –

    • Writ of Control – a High Court Enforcement Officer is instructed to seize goods belonging to the debtor. Our costs will be £100 plus VAT and there will be a Court fee of £66 to pay. If the High Court Enforcement Officers is unsuccessful there is further fee of £90 to pay. If they are successful, their fees will be added to the debt payable. This step normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks and success clearly cannot be guaranteed - the debtor may have nothing of value.
    • Attachment of Earnings Order - the Court will order the debtor’s employer to deduct money from the debtor’s salary and pay it to you by regular instalments. Provided the debtor can be easily found, his or her employer is known and we do not have to attend a hearing, we will charge £150 plus VAT. In addition there will be a Court fee of £110 to pay. In the event that a hearing does become necessary (for example the debtor objects) we will provide you with an estimate of costs. The amount will depend on where the hearing takes place, whether we deal with it for you, or whether we need to instruct an agent. The process normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks.
    • Charging Order – this puts a charge/mortgage on property owned by the debtor or on the debtor’s share in the property if it is jointly owned. We will charge £350 plus VAT for this work provided we do not have to attend a Court hearing. In addition there will be a Court fee of £110 to pay, search fees of approximately £11 to pay and a fee of £40 to pay when the charge is registered at Land Registry. In the event that a hearing does become necessary (for example the debtor objects) we will provide you with an estimate of costs. The amount will depend on where the hearing takes place, whether we deal with it for you, or whether we need to instruct an agent. The process normally takes about 8 to 12 weeks if the debtor does not raise an objection. If you then wish to seek an Order for Sale of the property, we will advise further and provide an estimate for this work.
    • Third Party Debt Order – this is an order requiring someone who owes the debtor money to pay that money direct to you. We will charge £250 plus VAT for our work provided we do not need to attend a Court hearing and there will be a Court fee of £110. In the event that a hearing does become necessary (for example the third party or debtor objects) we will provide you with an estimate of costs. The amount will depend on where the hearing takes place, whether we deal with it for you, or whether we need to instruct an agent. The process normally takes about 8 to 12 weeks.
    • Order to Obtain Information - If you do not have sufficient information about the debtor’s financial circumstances you can apply to the Court for an order that the debtor attend Court to be questioned. Our charges for this will be £250 plus VAT, there will be a court fee of £55 to pay and you will have to pay a Process Server a fee of up to £150 to serve the order on the debtor requiring them to attend Court.
    • Bankruptcy - You may also take steps to make the debtor bankrupt or, if it is a limited company, to wind it up. Bankruptcy or winding up are very much a last resort because they don’t usually result in the recovery of the money owed but we will advise you about these options and the costs involved if it becomes appropriate to do so.


  • Problems with Supplier or Customers more

    Sometimes the customer will not pay because they have a genuine complaint against you. Sometimes you do not want to pay your supplier because you have a genuine complaint against them. In such cases it is important that you gather as much information and evidence as possible to support your case. This is where having good contracts and knowing which law applies can help you. It is also very important that you keep good records – putting as much in writing as possible! An email or letter confirming what was agreed, is far more supportive than “your word against theirs”.

  • Problems with Professionals more

    All businesses will need to engage the services of professionals such as Solicitors, accountants, architects etc and sometimes problems arise. These types of professional negligence claims can be complicated and just because something went wrong, it does not mean that the professional was negligent. For that reason, it is important to get specialist advice. It is also likely that independent expert evidence will be needed.

    In some cases, however, it may be more appropriate to make a complaint to the governing body or ombudsman for the profession concerned. Some of these authorities have powers to resolve disputes by arbitration, or award compensation in appropriate circumstances.

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Contact Details

Kendal Office: 114–116 Stricklandgate, Kendal , LA9 4QA T: 01539 721945

Windermere Office: 25 Crescent Road, Windermere, LA23 1BJ T: 015394 46585

Kirkby Lonsdale Office: 29 Main Street, Kirkby Lonsdale, LA6 2AH T: 015242 71222

J36 Rural Auction Centre: Crooklands, Milnthorpe, LA7 7FP T: 015395 67571

Financial Services: 114–116 Stricklandgate, Kendal , LA9 4QA T: 01539 815746