If you are in business, dealing with individuals who sometimes don’t pay, you may be thinking about “going legal“. The County Court rules relating to debt claims are due to change in October 2017 and you must be aware of the new protocol to follow or the Court will impose sanctions.
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The main changes are the work that has to be done and the longer timescales before you can safely issue a court claim. You have to allow the debtor a lot more time, pre-action, providing more details of the debt itself and also listening more to any proposals for settlement. This may sound frustrating when you’ve done the work and expect to be paid, but there has been a trend for some time now for the Courts to require the parties to try to settle without using the Court’s time and resources, which are constantly under pressure – as are those who haven’t been paid, one might argue!
In particular, note that “individuals” now includes “sole traders” – so this not only relates to private debts but also could take in some commercial work.
The significant point is to make sure that you have all the details you need before you start chasing the debt so that you can keep up the pressure within the Court’s timeframe. The lesson to learn from all this is that it is more important than ever to keep accurate records, emails, evidence of communications etc when you’re in business and expect to be paid for the work you’ve done.
If you need any help with this, contact the Dispute Resolution team at Curwens – Rose Albay – 0208 363 4444.