If a person or business will not repay their debts, legal action may be the best course of action. The first step is to send a letter before action to demand repayment. With the right legal advice and tenor, this letter is often all it takes to convince a debtor to repay.
Saunders Law is a partner-led, niche litigation practice based in Central London assisting personal and business clients with all aspects of debt recovery.
Our commercial litigation lawyers specialise in debt recovery on behalf of businesses and sole traders across the city and beyond. We attract enquiries from all over the world for our reputation and strong track record of success. Due to our bespoke approach, we specialise in recovery of high value debts exceeding £100,000.
Find out more about our firm, its teams, and its typical work by taking a look at our clients.
Speak to us about a Letter Before Action in London
For expert advice about a Letter Before Action, contact Saunders Law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion about how we may be able to help.
Call us on 02076324300 or make an enquiry online.
Why our debt recovery lawyers are the right choice to draft and serve a Letter Before Action for you
Over 40 years’ experience
Our partner-led team have over 40 years of knowledge and experience in commercial litigation. This makes us the perfect option for individuals and businesses looking for advice about complex and high value debts and disputes.
Independently recognised expertise
A bespoke approach to debt recovery
We take a highly personalised approach, planning our strategy around our clients’ circumstances and commercial goals. We specialise in helping clients find commercially realistic solutions out-of-court wherever possible to keep costs and the time invested proportionate.
Exceptional client care
We pride ourselves on delivering a positive experience as well as results. Our clients can expect a fast, proactive service and quick responses to their calls and emails. Our partners are always available to discuss cases and provide updates at times convenient to our clients. As a result, we have an impressive client satisfaction rate.
What our debt recovery solicitors can do for you
We can draft and serve a firm Letter Before Action that clearly sets out:
- The amount owed to our client
- How the debt arose and any evidence
- How the debt has been calculated, including details of any interest and other charges
- Timeframes within which the debtor is expected to repay in full
- The consequences of non-payment – usually, this will be a court money claim
We provide our services carefully in line with the Civil Procedure Rules and relevant Pre-Action Protocols and Practice Direction which set out the procedure for commencing civil legal action and recovering money.
Complying with these processes puts our clients in the strongest possible position should legal action become the only feasible option.
What is a Letter Before Action?
A Letter Before Action, sometimes referred to as final demand letter, letter of claim or pre-action court letter, is a formal letter that puts a debtor on notice that court proceedings may be instigated if they do not repay their outstanding balance within given timeframes.
The Letter Before Action tends to be the first step to commencing a money claim at court. However, in our experience, a final demand from a solicitor is often all it takes to convince a debtor to engage in settlement negotiations.
Therefore, for creditors struggling to get anywhere with their debtors, serving a letter before action can be a legitimate strategy even if they are reluctant to take the matter to court.
Why do creditors need to send a Letter Before Action?
A creditor cannot skip the Letter Before Action or pre-action stages of debt recovery. This is because the court expects claimants to comply with the relevant Pre-Action Protocol or in line with the Practice Direction. Civil Pre-Action rules govern how parties conduct litigation and compliance is taken into account when considering a claim.
For businesses claiming debt from individuals (including sole traders and partners in a partnership), there is a specific Pre-Action Protocol For Debt Claims to follow.
What happens after the Letter Before Action?
This depends on the debtor’s response to the solicitor’s Letter Before Action. The debtor may not respond at all, they may make an offer, return a financial statement of income and expenditure or defend their position in a response letter. We can provide practical advice about the next steps, including engaging in settlement negotiations and advising about legal action.
For business-to-individual debt matters, the minimum time period the creditor should wait before commencing legal proceedings is 30 days. For other debts, this time period is 14 days for a straightforward case and no more than 3 months for a very complex one.
If the debtor makes various offers, such as a payment plan, it is necessary to respond with reasons as to why the creditor is accepting or rejecting the offer. If the offer is rejected, the creditor should also inform the debtor that legal proceedings are still being considered.
Should the creditor accept an offer, it is beneficial to enter into a formal settlement contract setting out details of the agreement and waiving any potential claims by the debtor.
For a detailed explanation of the litigation process, please read our Litigation Guide.
Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to settle debt recovery claims
Should the Letter Before Action be unsuccessful at prompting payment, one alternative to going to court is to use a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation or arbitration. These methods tend to be quicker and more cost-effective and litigation is still an option if unsuccessful.
How much does a Letter Before Action cost?
For details of our fees to draft and send a letter before action, please visit our price information page.
Speak to us about a solicitor’s Letters Before Action in London
For expert advice about solicitor’s Letters Before Action, contact Saunders Law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion about how we may be able to help.