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 (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. We charge a fixed fee for this.

    If your case is a little more complicated and a meeting 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 him or her 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?

    STAGE 1

    If a meeting is required before we write a letter we will charge a fixed fee of £75 plus VAT for that meeting.

    STAGE 2

    When we write our first letter we will charge you £50 plus VAT.

    STAGE 3

    If, despite our letter, the debtor still doesn’t pay and you decide that you want to start a Court claim we will charge a fixed fee of £150 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 fee to pay as follows:-

    Claim amount

    Paper form fee

    Online claim fee

    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




    STAGE 4

    If the debtor defends the Claim you have lodged with the Court we will advise you as to your options but any further work will be charged on an hourly rate basis. 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. Please be aware that if your claim is for less than £10,000 a defended case is likely to be heard in the Small Claims Court in which 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 the Small Claims Court.

    If, however, the debtor does not defend the 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.

    STAGE 5

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

    • Writ of Control which instructs a High Court Enforcement Officer to seize goods belonging to the debtor. Our costs will be £100 plus VAT, there will be a Court fee of £66 and a High Court Enforcement Officers fee of £90. 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 whereby the Court will order the debtor’s employer to deduct money from the debtor’s salary and pay it to you. Provided the debtor can be easily found, his or her employer is known and we do not have to attend a hearing (which will take place if either you or your debtor object to the order made in the first instance) we will charge £150 plus VAT for this. In addition there will be a Court fee of £110 to pay. This normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks to obtain.
    • A Charging Order which 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, there will be a Court fee of £110 to pay, a Search fee of £11 to pay and a fee of £40 to pay when the charge is registered at Land Registry. If it is necessary to attend a Court hearing (because the debtor objects to the Charging Order) we will charge an additional £250 plus VAT. This process normally takes about 8 to 12 weeks if the debtor does not raise an objection.
    • Third party debt order which is an order whereby the Court requires someone who owes the debtor money to pay to you. We will charge £250 plus VAT for our work, there will be a Court fee of £110 to pay and an agent’s fee for attending the hearing which will depend on where the case is heard. We will provide you with more details about agents’ likely charges according to the specific circumstances of your case. This process normally takes about 8 to 12 weeks.

    1.

    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 him or her to attend Court.

    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.

Free Enquiries

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“ I could not have asked for better service as I haven’t bought and sold a house on my own before. I was guided through the whole process with ease. Thank you. ”

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