Longmores Fixed Fee Debt Recovery Scheme
The Longmores Fixed Fee Debt Recovery Scheme is designed to help businesses recover their unpaid invoices.
Any undisputed invoice payable by a company or individual in England and Wales can be put on our scheme.
We believe that our scheme is the best of its kind. Here’s why:
Clear and Fixed Charges
As long as your case remains on our fixed fee debt recovery scheme, there will be no hidden charges – everything will be charged in line with the table attached. Even if your case falls outside the scheme, we will not charge you anything unless and until we have an alternative fee arrangement in place.
A Professional Service
We are not a firm of debt collectors. We are solicitors with more than 100 years’ experience working for local businesses and individuals. We will always give you unbiased and commercial advice, supervised by the experienced solicitors in our team. Our scheme is only part of the services we offer; we can also help you with disputed debts, or can advise on your procedures or terms and conditions to help avoid problems in future.
Efficient and Value Driven
Having to resort to debt recovery is always unwelcome. We work hard to ensure that we offer the best possible value to your business, so our prices start at only £20. If your business has many debts, we can work together with you to set up bespoke arrangements.
A Complete Solution
Unlike some lawyers, we don’t stop when we get a judgment from the court, nor do we insist that you follow our scheme from the start. Our aim is to get you paid, so where necessary we offer a full range of options to enforce judgments, including insolvency proceedings. We can start work as soon as a debt problem arises, or we can help you at a later stage if you have taken some steps yourself.
The Debt Recovery Process
Before Court Proceedings
The first stage in any case is for us to send a letter to the debtor demanding payment – known as a letter before action or LBA. Many debtors pay up at this stage, and we add interest and any fees you are entitled to charge the debtor, so you may even get back more than the original debt.
Considering your Options
If the debtor doesn’t pay in full, you need to consider your next steps. The obvious option is to bring court proceedings, but that isn’t necessarily the right step. You may be concerned the debt is not worth pursuing, in which case one of our investigation reports may be worth considering. In some cases, starting insolvency proceedings immediately could be a better option. Our LBAs are compliant with the court’s pre-action protocols, so we can move straight to court proceedings if you want to do so.
Starting Court Proceedings
If you do decide to start court proceedings, we will draft the proceedings and issue them for you. Normally, the court will serve them on the Defendant. The court proceedings will set out brief details of your claim, and will seek interest, costs and any other sums you are entitled to.
The debtor will have 14 days to respond to the court proceedings once they are served, although this can be extended in some circumstances. Unless the debtor defends or pays the debt, we can obtain judgment against them at this point. Most judgments are outright, though debtors can in some circumstances put forward proposals to pay over time.
If the judgment is not paid within one month, this will have a serious effect on the debtor’s credit rating, so many debts are paid after judgment. However, there are a number of ways you can enforce your judgment. Every time we obtain a judgment, we provide you with advice on the options that are available to you, so you can make the best choice.
If an individual owes you more than £5,000, or a company owes you more than £750, you can start insolvency proceedings instead of bringing a claim for the debt. If the debtor is made insolvent, you will have to share the proceeds with their other creditors, though your costs are paid as a priority, which means it won’t be right in every case. However, given successful insolvency proceedings have such a drastic effect on debtors, they can be a great way to sort those who won’t pay from those who genuinely can’t pay. Insolvency proceedings can also be brought later, if you have an unpaid judgment.
Letter Before Action (LBA)
We charge £20 for an LBA regardless of the size of the debt.
Starting Court Proceeding
Our fees are fixed based on the value of the debt including interest and any other permissible charge.
|Amount||Court Fee||Our Fee||Total Cost|
|Less than £300||£35||£50||£85|
|£10,000-£200,000||5% of claim value||£100||£600-£10,000|
|More than £200,000||£10,000||£100||£10,100|
|Up to £1,000||£80|
|£1,000 to £5,000||£200|
|£5,000 or more||£400|
|Enforcement Action||Court Fee||Our Fee||Total|
|Charging Order or Third Party Debt Order||£110||£360||£470|
|Attachment of Earnings Order||£110||£80||£190|
|County Court Warrant of Execution||£110||£80||£190|
|High Court Writ||£66 to issue
£75 if abortive
|Order to Obtain Information||£55 to issue
£150 to serve
|Method||Court Fee||Other Costs||Our Fee||Total|
|Statutory Demand (individuals, though you can use for companies)||none||£150 to serve||£200||£350|
|£302||£150 to serve
£1,500 Official Receiver Deposit
|£302||£150 to serve
£90 advert fee
£2,600 Official Receiver Deposit
|Desk-based Trace Report (Individuals, payable only on successful trace)||£20|
|Financial Health Assessment (Individuals or Companies)||£200|
Please note that all of the above costs exclude VAT.
- The fixed price for charging orders and third party debt orders includes one hearing only, which is all that is normally required. If that hearing is adjourned, a supplemental fee of £100 will be charged for an additional hearing.
- The fixed price for bankruptcy and winding-up petitions includes one hearing only. Any supplemental hearing will be charged at £200. More than one supplemental hearing would be exceptional.
- The fixed price for attachment of earnings orders, warrants of execution and high court writs does not include the fees payable by the debtor in the event the enforcement action is successful.
- VAT is not included in any of the amounts set out above, as most businesses can recover VAT. Court fees and Official Receiver Deposits are not subject to VAT. VAT is payable on our fees and any other costs set out.
- Fees for LBAs, options and court fees/deposits are payable in advance. The fee for obtaining judgment is only payable if and when judgment is granted by the court. For all other costs, half of the total is payable in advance, half after approval of the documents, application or proceedings in question but before they are issued at court.
- The scheme is only for undisputed debts. Disputed debts need to be dealt with on a case by case basis, to maximise your chances of success. If a dispute arises, the case will come off the scheme at that point. We will inform you and will put forward a bespoke proposal for that case, on a no-obligation basis, so you can decide how you wish to proceed.
- The scheme is designed for invoice debts. At our discretion, we may allow simple debt claims that do not arise from invoices to be included in the scheme. Debts arising from multiple invoices may be brought under the scheme, but we may ask you to prepare a statement of the amounts owing and reserve the right to make an extra charge for interest calculations in such cases.
- To ensure our prices can be kept as low as possible, the day to day work on the scheme may be carried out by junior members of staff. The advice we provide, and any instructions you give us, will only be what is necessary for the purpose of taking the steps set out in the scheme. We provide standard forms for you to confirm your instructions at various stages of the case, and may require you to restrict your instructions to such standard forms. If you want a more personal service, particularly in more complex cases, we would recommend our bespoke debt recovery option.
- Likewise, the scheme does not cover negotiation with the debtor. If the debtor makes payment proposals, you can choose to deal with them directly, or pay an additional fee (which will be estimated on a time-cost basis) for conducting the negotiations on your behalf.
- As regulated professionals, we must act in accordance with our professional duties at all times. While it is rare that we would do so, we reserve the right to decline instructions.
- The rules of this scheme take precedence over our standard terms of business and usual client care agreement, but otherwise those terms also apply.
- We try to provide a quick turnaround, but many of the processes set out above are in the hands of the courts, which can themselves vary over time and across the country. Our estimate of the time required for the steps outlined in the scheme, from receipt of instructions unless otherwise indicated, is as follows:
|Receiving response to LBA||10 days (company), one month (individuals)|
|Issuing and serving proceedings||14 days|
|Applying for judgment||14 days from service, 28 if debtor files acknowledgment of service|
|Obtaining judgment from court||14 days|
|Drafting and serving statutory demand||14 days|
|Compliance with statutory demand from service||21 days|
|Obtaining bankruptcy/winding up hearing||10 weeks|
|Completing enforcement action involving warrant, writ or attachment of earnings||5 weeks|
|Completing other enforcement action||10 weeks|