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Debt Recovery FAQs

What do we do?
We will give an experienced opinion at the outset of the prospects of being successful.  We will carry out internet searches to ascertain information about the debtor and information you are able to provide to us.

We will send a Letter Before Action which complies with the Practice Direction - Pre Action Protocols or the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims demanding payment.  If there is no response we will discuss the next steps with you and will always liaise with you before taking any further action.

We can also advise on your credit control procedures and terms and conditions.

Can we charge interest and recover your costs?
Against individuals interest will be claimed either the rate prescribed in the contract/agreement or at the statutory rate.  If there are provisions contained within the contract/agreement to recover your costs then a claim will also be made for these.

For business to business debts interest and costs can be claimed in accordance with the contract/agreement, your terms and conditions or in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Interest Act 1998 (“1998 Act”).  Where statutory interest applies to the contract, the 1998 Act provides that, as well as the fixed charge, a supplier may claim as compensation for the cost of recovering a debt (£40, £70 or £100, depending on the size of the debt), the supplier can also claim his other reasonable costs of recovery. Any attempt to exclude or limit this right of recovery will be subject to the reasonableness tests set out in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

Will our debtor get a bad credit rating?
If a Judgment is obtained against your debtor this will automatically be registered after one calendar month at Registry Trust, this can then be seen by anybody who carries out a search against that person or business.  A Judgment remains on the register for 6 years unless it is satisfied sooner.

Does getting a Judgment mean that we will get paid?
The Judgment is the Order from Court that your debtor must pay you.  This can be granted by Court if the debtor does not respond to the Claim Form or after a hearing and determination by a Judge.  If the debtor does not pay the Judgment debt within the specified time frame then you must take further steps through the Court to enforce that Judgment. 

What is enforcement?
Enforcement is the steps that may have to be taken to make the debtor pay the Judgment.  The knowledge we have on the debtor will help to identify the most likely efficient method of enforcement.  There are a number of methods of enforcement available: {Bailiff or Enforcement Officer}; Attachment of Earnings; Charging Order to secure against the debtors property; Third Party Debt Orders; and Orders to Obtain Information. 

How long does it take?
From us receiving your debt recovery instructions and sending the Letter Before Action to obtaining Judgment (where the debt has not been disputed) is approximately 6-8 weeks.  This will entirely depend on how your debtor conducts themselves or if they dispute the debt.  Enforcing a Judgment will probably take longer.

We have no formal contract/agreement with my debtor, can I still pursue them?
You can still pursue your debtor if there is evidence of the service or goods having been requested by the debtor and delivered or provided by you.  We can consider what evidence you do have and advise you on this on a case by case basis.

The debtor is disputing the debt, can we still pursue them?
The Civil Procedure Rules clearly encourage parties to attempt to settle matters before issuing proceedings, which should be done as a last resort.  If your debtor raises a query or requests copies of any documents you should comply with these, where they are reasonable. 

The most common pitfalls
The most common problems we come across when receiving instructions are:

Contact Us

Get expert legal advice from one of Sheffield’s most respected law firms, Wake Smith Solicitors.

Our team of friendly, professional solicitors in Sheffield can provide support and advice in a wide range of areas for you and your business. Call our Sheffield Solicitors on 0114 266 6660 or fill out the simple form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

For all media enquiries, please contact Abby Worsnip or Billy Greenhalgh at www.agentpr.co.uk.

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Office Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Sheffield Head Office - City Centre
No1 Velocity
2 Tenter Street
S1 4BY
Tel: 0114 266 6660
Fax: 0114 267 1253
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DX: 10534 Sheffield 1


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There is a large public carpark operated by NCP underneath our office building, the entrance to which is located on Solly St.

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If you have any special requirements relating to accessibility or disabled facilities please contact John Liversidge on 0114 224 2075 or at john.liversidge@wake-smith.com