Recovering a debt can be very challenging for a business, particularly if the debtor is not in the UK. Late payment of high value debts can have a significant impact on the cash flow of a business and we understand the importance of ensuring recovery is prompt, efficient and cost-effective.
At Saunders, we are expert debt collection lawyers. Based in London, we are familiar with the nuances of international debt recovery, working with many clients who operate across the globe. We offer strategic, high level advice led by our partners and specialise in claims over £10,000.
We have expertise in pre-action collection, litigation and winding up. We have recently taken action on behalf of creditors of an insolvent company chasing debts of many millions both in Europe and beyond.
We also have experience in dealing with fraud and other white collar crime, which can be linked to debt recovery matters.
Below we outline some of the key services we can offer your business. If you have any questions as to how we can support your business, please call us today on 020 7632 4300
Negotiating a settlement
At Saunders, we have particular expertise in negotiating a settlement before court proceedings. In a recent complex debt claim we managed to agree a settlement between two companies whilst preserving the commercial relationship between them. We understand that it is often very important that a commercial relationship is maintained and we therefore always adopt a commercially sensitive approach.
It is often the case that, before litigation is required, it is simply enough for a letter to be sent to the debtor from your solicitor. This letter will clearly state how much is due and the final deadline for payment before court proceedings will be instituted. Often this helps focus the mind of the debtor and can lead to speedy resolution.
Equally, it may be that there is a contractual dispute as to how much is owed by the debtor. If this is the case, we can negotiate with the debtor or their solicitor with a view to reaching a compromise position which works for all parties.
It is important that you explore non-litigious options when seeking to enforce an international debt. Litigation can be necessary but, particularly when the debtor is outside of the EU, this can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. Our solicitors will always seek to find the most cost-effective solution to your problems and you can rest assured that we will exhaust all pre-action options before instigating litigation,
Debt recovery from another EU country
If you are seeking to recover a debt from an EU based debtor, you may be able to use the EU specific legal regime to your advantage.
If the debtor denies owing the debt, you should take legal advice as soon as possible as you may have to use the national court system, unless the debt is less than €5,000 (in which case, the European Small Claims procedure can be used).
However, if the debtor does not deny that they owe you money, you can apply for a European Payment Order. A European Payment Order is a procedure based on standard forms to make it easier to recover a cross-border debt. The relevant forms are available online. You will have to provide details about the debt and payment the relevant court fee. You will apply to the court with jurisdiction over the claim – this can be complicated but our experts are on hand to offer the relevant legal advice.
The Order will be reviewed by the relevant court and it will then be served on the debtor, usually within 30 days of applying. If the debtor does not challenge the Order, then it becomes automatically enforceable without the need for any further procedure. If the debtor does challenge the Order, usually this means that the claim will be transferred to the relevant national court system. Again, if this is the case, we can advise as necessary.
Debt recovery outside the EU
When recovering a debt from a debtor outside the EU, the position is significantly more complex. Unlike in the EU, there is no over-arching regime which can be tapped into to recover the debt. However, our commercial litigation specialists have extensive experience across the globe and will be able to apply this mass of knowledge to your circumstances.
As always, we will endeavour to negotiate a settlement with the debtor. We can also advise, if all else fails, on the correct court in which to raise the action. We will review any contractual documents you have with the debtor to establish the correct jurisdiction at play. We can also advise, once you have a judgment in your favour, how to have this judgment enforced.
Contact our specialists today
At Saunders, we are expert commercial litigation lawyers with expertise in recovering high value debts. We will always offer a free initial consultation to establish if we can assist you.
Recovering a debt can be a very stressful experience, particularly when an international debtor is involved. It can be very difficult to understand where to start. Equally, litigation can be a costly option and you will want to feel confident that this is the correct option for your business.
Our specialists are on hand to reduce this burden, advising on the different options available. We offer strategic advice aimed at preserving and protecting your finances and reputation.
If you need assistance enforcing a debt, speak to one of our experts today.