Frequently asked questions

1. Letter of Claim / Solicitor's letter

Why have you sent this letter to me?

If you have a debt outstanding with our Client, they will have instructed us to write to you on their behalf. Our instructions may include progressing legal action should no arrangement for repayment be forthcoming.

If you believe the legal action affects you, you should seek independent legal advice.

Click here for information about possible sources of advice.

Can I ask somebody else to speak to you in order to discuss my account?

We can only discuss your personal details with somebody else if you have given us your permission in writing.

You can complete a Letter of Authority form, sign it and send it to us.

What do you mean when you refer to "proposals" to clear the debt?

Legal action is viewed by our Clients as a last resort.  They are keen to work with you to agree the best way to clear the debt as soon as possible.

Ideally they would like you to do this in a single, lump sum payment but they realise that this may not always be possible. As an alternative they may seek to agree an arrangement with you to clear the debt over a "reasonable" period of time.

What is "reasonable" will depend upon the circumstances of each individual's financial position although our Client will take into account factors such as your personal circumstances, your ability to pay the proposed amounts and the balance you owe.

What should I do if I want to make a proposal / arrangement?

You should write to us telling us how much you think you can afford each month. Our client will be guided by our advice and we will require you to complete an Income and Expenditure form to see exactly what money you have available to pay towards the debt each month. You should send the Income and Expenditure form to us to support your proposal together with evidence to substantiate your position. This will typically be in the form of wage slips, proof of benefits and three month's worth of bank statements.

Unless this information is provided we cannot verify to our client that your offer is fair and reasonable. If you do not send the supporting information there will be a rebuttable presumption that you can afford to clear the debt in one payment.  In these circumstances we will not recommend our Client accepts your instalment offer as a formal repayment arrangement.

What if I am in an IVA or have been made Bankrupt?

You should contact us immediately and provide your IVA / Bankruptcy details.

What if I employ a Debt Management Company to act on my behalf?

You should forward our letter to them as soon as possible. It is for them to contact us and provide the appropriate letter of authority so that we may discuss our Clientís claim with them. We will not contact them on your behalf.

2. Claim form

What is a claim form?

A claim form is a formal legal document sent to you via the Court. It sets out the particulars of our client's claim together the amount being sought from you.

Why has the Court sent me a claim form?

A claim form would have been issued after our client instructed us to seek the Courtís assistance in recovering the debt. This would have happened either due to you not contacting us to make proposals or due to no formal repayment arrangement being agreed.

Why has the debt figure increased?

Our Client has not only paid us as their solicitors, but also has paid the Court a fee in order to issue a claim form. These costs are recoverable and form part of the new balance. Our client is also able to request interest on the debt value. This will vary according to our instructions.

What do I do if I have been sent a claim form?

You should not ignore it and read it carefully. You should seek independent legal advice if you are not sure about any aspect of the claim and what you need to do next.

What happens if I fail to respond to the claim?

If after 14 days you do not provide a response to the claim we will be at liberty to request a Judgment by Default.

What happens if I acknowledge the claim?

By acknowledging the claim the 14 day deadline is increased to 28 days. This additional time is granted for you to investigate the matter / seek independent legal advice.

What happens if I defend the claim?

This will mean that the matter is transferred to our Solicitor team to progress. There will be further court directions and a hearing date which you / your legal representative will have to comply with.

What happens if I admit the Claim and make an instalment offer via the Courts?

If you make an instalment offer at this stage, it either means this is the first time you have made the offer, or you are repeating / increasing an offer previously rejected by our Client.  The Court will forward your offer to us.  Our client may instruct us to accept or reject it. The Court may make an order as it deems fit and in the event that the Court makes an order for instalments which our client does not deem reasonable, we may be instructed to appeal the decision and seek either an increased instalment amount or a forthwith judgment.

What is the consequence of a County Court Judgment?

Judgments stay on the Register of Judgments for six years. Banks and loan companies use this information to help decide whether to give you credit or loans. Your judgment is only removed from the register if:

- you paid the full amount within one month from the date of Judgment;
- it is set aside (withdrawn) by the court.

If you pay the full amount within one month you can remove your Judgment by sending a fee and proof of payment to the court. If it takes you more than a month to pay the judgment, you can send a fee and proof of payment to get the judgment marked 'satisfied' on the register. It'll stay for six years but people searching the register will see you have paid.

You can search the register yourself for a fee. If your details are wrong you can get your entry checked with the court. Some companies offer 'credit repair' checks, but you can usually sort things out yourself with the court more cheaply.

3. Order for Questioning

What is an order for Questioning?

Once we have obtained Judgment our Client may like to know more about your financial circumstances. We will always try and encourage you to voluntarily disclose your financial circumstances, however if we have not been successful we will ask the court to make an order compelling you to attend Court and disclose these details under oath. These will then be forwarded to us so that we may review them with our Client.

Why have I been served with the Court documents for the Order for Questioning?

We have to arrange for the documents to be served on you in order that the Court can be satisfied you are aware of the order.

What should I do once I have been served with the order?

You should read it carefully. Do not ignore it. Seek independent legal advice if you are unsure. You should note the time and date of the hearing and ensure you attend. If you fail to attend after you have been served with the order, the Court may make a further order for your committal to prison so it is essential that you deal with the matter. You may contact us at any stage to make an offer of payment. Alternatively you can direct your offer to the Court via the hearing. Your reasonable travel expenses can be claimed in advance for attending the hearing.

4. High Court Enforcement

What is High Court Enforcement?

High Court Enforcement is a method of recovering a Judgment Debt. We will apply to transfer the judgment from the County Court to the High Court. The High Court will then provide us with a “Writ of Control”. This is a warrant which is then sent to appointed High Court Enforcement Officers. Once in receipt the officers will be empowered to visit your home and take goods to the value of the warrant.

Can I repay the debt at this point?

Any offers of payment either by instalments or lump sum settlement must be made directly to the officers who will seek instructions from us. You should note that the debt will increase once the officers have been instructed as additional High Court Fees will be added.

5. Charging Orders

What is a charging order?

A charging order is an enforcement method whereby we take the unsecured Judgment debt and secure it against any land or property owned by you.

Once secured what will happen next?

This will depend on our client’s instructions. They may seek to continue to enforce the secured judgment by other methods such as via High Court Enforcement. Depending on whether our client freezes interest we would always recommend that you make an instalment offer to reduce the charge value or at the very least prevent interest from accruing over time, which will increase the charge value.  Our client may consider forcing a sale of your property. This will depend on key factors such as debt value, level of equity and other personal circumstances.

Can I repay the debt?

If you wish to prevent your property from being affected then contact us straight away to discuss repayment proposals. The earlier the better.

6. Attachment of Earnings

What is an Attachment of Earnings?

An attachment of earnings is an order from the Court. It compells your employer to pay a portion of your wages to our Client each month. The Court may make a suspended order which gives you the opportunity to pay without involving your employer or a full order which then involves your employer.

7. Bankruptcy

What is a Statutory Demand?

A Statutory Demand is a precursor to Bankruptcy. It is a legal document which sets out details of our Client’s claim.

Why have I been served with a Statutory Demand?

We are obliged by insolvency rules to serve you with the demand. From the date of service you have 21 days to repay the debt, make arrangements to secure the debt or agree an instalment plan. If you fail to do this then our client is free to petition for your bankruptcy.

What if I dispute the demand?

If you wish to challenge the demand then you must do this at the Court stated on the document within 18 days from the date you were served.

Why have I been served with a Bankruptcy Petition?

We are obliged by insolvency rules to serve you with the petition. You have either made an offer unacceptable to our client or you have not responded to the statutory demand.

Can I repay the debt?

If you wish to discuss repayment you should contact us straight away. You must note that if a bankruptcy petition has been presented, all of our Client’s costs associated with the bankruptcy will be added to the overall debt value.

8. Service of the Claim Form

I have discovered that a Judgment has been registered against me but I was not sent details of the Claim. Why has this happened?

You should contact us to discuss the matter or seek independent legal advice.