Debt Recovery2018-11-29T17:41:06+00:00

Debt RecoveryWHY USE WATKINS RYDER?

Our service is designed for commercial clients seeking to improve their cash flow. Unlike many debt recovery businesses, our specialist debt recovery department is staffed by Solicitors. We are able to offer a quality service at a competitive rate because we are a niche practice with low overheads and efficient processing systems.

The monies we recover are held separately in our client account in accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority rules.

  • An understanding of commercial needs and a desire to establish mutually beneficial long term business relationships
  • Transparency on costs
  • Commercial litigation expertise for contested debts

Debt Recovery – Our Terms of Business

What we do and what it costs

We will allocate your matter to a Lawyer who will acknowledge your instructions and provide their contact details. If you are unable to contact that person due to their absence from our office you should ask to speak with our administrative assistant. Your work will be dealt with by a qualified solicitor with a minimum of 8 years litigation experience unlike many of our competitors who utilise unqualified staff.

The Director with final responsibility for the conduct of your claim is Tom Watkins this firm’s ‘Supervising Partner’.

Terms and Conditions of Business

These terms and conditions create the basis on which we will undertake the work we will do for you and explain how we charge for that work.

The work we undertake forms the basis of a contract between you and Watkins Ryder LLP (WR). No individual member, employee or agent of WR accepts or assumes personal responsibility for any work undertaken.

What we do

Stage 1

Where possible we will within 24 hours send a letter before action to the debtor.

If no contact is received by the debtor 4/5 working days later we attempt to make telephone contact with the debtor advising them of the expiry of the letter’s deadline and warning them that they face County Court proceedings if payment is not made. We will request payment at that time.

For debtors whose whereabouts is unknown we offer a £100.00 no trace no fee database search. If a physical trace is required a fee of £150.00 is raised when the trace is positive and £75 if we are unsuccessful.

If monies are recovered without the need to commence a court claim our fees are calculated in accordance with the fee or percentage of monies recovered shown in the table below:

Please note that all the above charges are plus VAT

If we are successful in recovering additional monies for you by way of interest, costs or compensation the above percentages are applied to these monies and the balance returned to you.

If our letter before action and telephone contact fails to result in payment we offer an optional personal visit service by an agent for £75. If the debt collector succeeds a further 2% charge is raised on the monies recovered.

Our costs as shown apply to an unpaid invoice or debt which is not disputed and where enforcement action is not required. If the other party disputes your debt at any point we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary. Further work could be on a fixed fee or on an hourly rate basis depending upon the complexity of the issues that arise.

If payment is made direct to you after Watkins Ryder has been instructed you become liable for our fees.

Stage 2

If no monies are recovered under our Stage 1 procedure we will discuss with you the merit of commencing County Court or Insolvency Proceedings depending upon the debtor’s circumstances and the size of the claim.

County Court Claim

As the law does not allow court action (litigation) to be commenced on the basis of the debt collector charging on the basis of a percentage recovered, we charge a fixed amount to commence a claim:

For claims over £10,000 the court fee is 5% of the sum claimed and we our fees are capped at £350.00

If the claim is not acknowledged or defended we will apply for Judgment against the debtor (payment by instalment may then be offered by the debtor or in the absence of agreement ordered by the court). Where judgment is obtained we will write requesting payment. Absent payment we will advise on next steps.

Matters usually take 1 to 8 weeks from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side depending on whether it is necessary to issue a claim. This is on the basis that the other side pays promptly on receipt of judgment in default. If enforcement action is needed matters will take longer to resolve.

Our charges *:

*The majority or all of these charges are normally recovered from the debtor

Insolvency Proceedings

The purpose of Bankruptcy or Winding Up Proceedings, strictly speaking, is to prove the insolvency of the individual or organisation concerned. In practice for debts in excess of £750 due by a company or £5000 owed by an individual the threat of such proceedings often results in timely payment. In appropriate cases where the debt is not contested on realistic grounds we will discuss this option and the full costs involved with you. The commencement of these proceedings usually requires the presentation of a Statutory Demand, which frequently results in payment of the debt. We charge as follows:

Bankruptcy proceedings require the personal service of the demand upon the individual which attracts a Process Server’s fee of approximately £120.00.

The costs implications mentioned under County Court proceedings apply.

All of our fees attract VAT at the current rate. Court fees do not attract VAT. The VAT element of our fee may not be recovered from your debtor.

It should be noted that interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with higher costs, than those shown above.

Stage 3

Enforcement of County Court Judgement

Our costs do not include enforcement action such as when a bailiff is needed to collect your debt.

If the debtor fails to pay a Judgement we will discuss with you the most appropriate method of enforcement having taken in to account the debtor’s circumstances. The options for enforcement include:

  • Instruction of the High court Sheriff or County Court Bailiff to seize and sell the debtor’s assets
  • Obtaining a court order to freeze the debtor’ bank account from which payment is then made
  • Obtaining a Charging Order over property (land) to secure the Judgement pending sale
  • Attachment of Earnings Order where the debtor’s employer deducts money at source to satisfy your Judgement.

Service Standards

Your matter will be assigned to a lawyer who has the appropriate skills to deal with your matter.

We endeavour to ensure that one individual has responsibility for your file. However this is not always possible. If a change in the person with conduct of your matter is necessary we will advise you and explain why. Where possible to save expense a more junior member of staff may assist.

We will take careful notes of meetings and telephone calls so that any other member of staff can assist with your file in the absence of your allocated lawyer. We will provide you with copies of all important notes, correspondence and documents.

Where possible we will communicate with you by e mail. It will be your responsibility to ensure the security and privacy of such e mails.
In the event that it proves necessary to instruct another professional, such as an expert witness or a Barrister to assist with your case, we will provide an estimate of their charges.

What we ask of you

We need you to provide us with information and instructions promptly. Litigation is governed by time limits imposed by the law and the courts. Failure to adhere to them may have serious consequences. It is important that you provide us with the fullest instructions and all relevant paperwork from the outset otherwise the advice we provide may not be accurate.

You are required to settle any account rendered within 14 days. If you do not we may suspend undertaking further work for you which may have adverse consequences for your case.

When acting for a limited company or partnership we may require the provision of a personal guarantee in respect of our charges either at the outset or at any time after the commencement of work. If the guarantee is not provided we reserve the right to cease acting for you. Further in the event that such guarantee is not provided any charges whether previously invoiced or not are payable immediately upon demand.

Termination

You may terminate this agreement at any time.

We may terminate in the following circumstances:

  • You fail to provide payment on account when such a request is made
  • You fail to attend a meeting or court hearing
  • If any invoice we raise upon you is outstanding for more than 14 days
  • If you fail to provide instructions
  • If there is a serious breakdown in the relationship between you and the lawyer representing you
  • When you have not provided instructions or you fail to return the acknowledgement of these terms and conditions.

Defended Claims – How we charge and when you pay Defended claims

With any claim disputed in court (litigation) both parties can incur substantial costs. We will discuss these with you and provide advice in respect of the merits of your claim.

There is also the risk that even if you are successful you may not be able to recover any judgement in your favour or your costs if the debtor proves to be insolvent. Once a claim has been commenced should you decide to discontinue there is a presumption that the Defendant is entitled to have his own legal fees paid by the Claimant. However, in practice this scenario is frequently avoided in negotiating a settlement.

If necessary we can make investigations to assess the solvency of the individual or organisation concerned. In addition it must be remembered that if the claim commenced is successfully defended it is likely that you will have to pay the debtor’s costs of defending the claim. The Defendant’s costs may also attract interest. If your claim is successful a costs order against the debtor is usually obtained but due to a process known as taxation it is usual that you will only recover 65/70% of your costs. Costs are at all times at the discretion of the court.

Our fees in respect of defended claims are charged on an hourly rate between £18 and £250 per hour depending upon the complexity of the issues involved and the experience of the allocated fee earner. We will agree this rate with you and will require monies on account for work to be undertaken. We will provide you at this time with further information in respect of our charges.

Our charges are the cost of the work we undertake for you and any additional costs (disbursements). These may include court fees, copying charges, searches, expert fees, Barrister’s fees and other costs.

We will provide with you an estimate of our charges and provide you with periodic updates. The outcome in any litigation cannot be guaranteed and the amount of work involved can change as information in relation to a case is obtained.

Our charges reflect the amount of time spent on your matter. We divide each hour into 10 units of 6 minutes. Routine letters, e mails and telephone calls whether made or received are recorded as 1 unit. Other work such as drafting and research are charged by reference to the time spent. The cost of each unit varies according to the charge out rate of the lawyer working on your matter. The hourly rates are exclusive of VAT. (Watkins Ryder LLP is registered for VAT under no 997 9381 31).

We will ordinarily invoice you monthly for work undertaken. Payment is due within 14 days of the invoice date. We reserve the right to charge interest on any outstanding account at the county court judgement rate.
If you object to an invoice we raise you have the right to have our bill assessed under Part 3 of the Solicitors Act 1974. We will explain this to you on request.

Recovering your charges and your liability to pay you opponents

Win or lose you remain liable to pay this firm’s charges.

Charges may be subjected to ‘assessment’ by the court or become a matter to be negotiated with your opponent. As a result it is unusual for all of your charges to be recovered even if you are successful. If your opponent is funded by the Legal Services Commission you may not be able to recover any of your charges.

When charges are assessed by the court after a hearing they are usually payable within 14 days of the hearing. If the court awards costs the person in whose favour the award is made may be able to claim interest.

File management policy

Our client is the person or company named on the acknowledgement form. By signing the same you are waiving your right to confidentiality so that we can communicate with third parties such as experts, insurers, auditors and witnesses.

Except where we are instructed jointly (unless specifically instructed to the contrary) we will only accept instructions and provide advice to the person named on the acknowledgment form.

Storage of papers

We are entitled to retain your papers while there is money owing to us.

If you do not collect your papers at the conclusion of your matter we will store them for 5 years or such longer period as we decide before destroying them. We will not destroy any wills, deeds or other securities that you ask us to hold in safe custody. We reserve the right to charge for the retrieval of documentation from storage and time spent in locating the requested documentation from your file.

Consumer Protection – Distance Selling Regulations 2000

These regulations are not applicable when:

  1. You have provided instructions at a face to face meeting
  2. You are a limited company
  3. We represent you on behalf of your business
  4. We represent you in respect of the sale or disposal of land (except some short term rental agreements).

The regulations may provide you with a 7 day ‘cooling off’ period entitling you to cancel this agreement.

By accepting these terms and conditions or by acknowledging their receipt electronically you are agreeing that we may start work for you within the ‘cooling off’ period and that our work for you is ongoing and may take more than 30 days to complete. This will affect your right to cancel this agreement.

If instructions are provided by telephone where you regularly enter into contracts for the supply of services at a distance you are entitled to cancel this agreement within 7 working days after receipt of these terms and conditions or completion of the work if sooner.

Unless you have a right under the Regulations you will be charged for work done prior to any instruction given to us to stop work.

Data Protection

Any information we gather about you as a result of your instructions may be used by us for the following:

  1. To assist in the provision and administration of the services we provide
  2. To provide you with details of other services we provide
  3. To comply with external auditing requirements.

If you do not wish to have information about other services provided by we please notify us in writing.

We may use generic information and statistics gathered by us and provide the same to third parties to help us develop our business. This information will not identify any individual.

The information we gather we gather will be kept for an indefinite period.

It is your responsibility to update any information you provide to us within 28 days of any change. This includes but is not limited to the change of contact details.

Alternative funding arrangements

It is your responsibility to ascertain if you have legal expenses insurance. Unless you provide us with a copy of the policy from the outset and we agree terms with your insurers that they will pay our fees, liability for our fees remains with you.

In certain circumstances we may be willing to undertake work with your liability for your own and / or your opponent’s costs protected by After The event Insurance or a Conditional Fee Agreement whereby you pay a reduced or no fee for work we undertake unless we are successful. However it is not our policy to do so for routine debt recovery instructions unless they become defended in which case we will discuss these options further with you.

Terms and Conditions of Business

These terms and conditions together with the accompanying letter and acknowledgment form create the basis on which we will undertake the work we will do for you and explain how we charge for that work.

The work we undertake forms the basis of a contract between you and Watkins Ryder LLP (WR). No individual member, employee or agent of WR accepts or assumes personal responsibility for any work undertaken.

We request that you sign and return the enclosed acknowledgment form but if you fail to do so we will proceed on the basis that our terms are accepted.

Service Standards

Your matter will be assigned to a lawyer who has the appropriate skills to deal with your matter.

We endeavour to ensure that one individual has responsibility for your file. However this is not always possible. If a change in the person with conduct of your matter is necessary we will advise you and explain why. Where possible to save expense a more junior member of staff may assist.

We will take careful notes of meetings and telephone calls so that any other member of staff can assist with your file in the absence of your allocated lawyer. We will provide you with copies of all important notes, correspondence and documents.

Where possible we will communicate with you by e mail. It will be your responsibility to ensure the security and privacy of such e mails.
In the event that it proves necessary to instruct another professional, such as an expert witness or a Barrister to assist with your case, we will provide an estimate of their charges.

What we ask of you

We need you to provide us with information and instructions promptly. Litigation is governed by time limits imposed by the law and the courts. Failure to adhere to them may have serious consequences. It is important that you provide us with the fullest instructions and all relevant paperwork from the outset otherwise the advice we provide may not be accurate.

You are required to settle any account rendered within 14 days. If you do not we may suspend undertaking further work for you which may have adverse consequences for your case.

When acting for a limited company or partnership we may require the provision of a personal guarantee in respect of our charges either at the outset or at any time after the commencement of work. If the guarantee is not provided we reserve the right to cease acting for you. Further in the event that such guarantee is not provided any charges whether previously invoiced or not are payable immediately upon demand.

File management policy

Our client is the person or company named on the acknowledgement form. By signing the same you are waiving your right to confidentiality so that we can communicate with third parties such as experts, insurers, auditors and witnesses.

Except where we are instructed jointly (unless specifically instructed to the contrary) we will only accept instructions and provide advice to the person named on the acknowledgment form.

If you have any queries in relation to the progress of your matter please contact us. We endeavour to respond to queries on the same working day wherever possible.

Complaints

We endeavour to provide a high quality professional service but if you have any concern in respect of the work undertaken for you in the first instance please raise your concern with the person with day to day conduct of your matter. If that is not possible or appropriate please contact either Tom Watkins or Charlotte Ryder. You can request our complaints handling policy at any time. If we are unable to resolve your complaint you should then contact the Legal Ombudsman at www.legalombudsman.org.uk to consider your complaint. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.

Our Liability for Losses

We are insured by Travelers Insurance Company Limited of Exchequer Court, 33, St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8AG. We carry £3 million worth of cover in respect of any individual claim. WR LLP limits its liability to this sum. Any dispute, claim or difference concerning the Policy including as to its validity and application, shall be governed exclusively by the law of England and Wales, whose court shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect, or exemplary damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.

Money Laundering

The law requires us to make enquiries in relation to any monies we receive and our acknowledgment forms require you to provide information in relation to any monies you provide to us. If we have concerns in relation to the source of such monies we reserve the right to suspend acting for you with immediate effect. If further enquiries reveal that we are entitled to cease acting for you in accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations we will cease to act on your behalf. We will not provide you with details of any information that comes to our attention during our enquiries.

We may require you to provide identification as part of our legal obligation under the Regulations. Normally we only accept payment by cheque or bankers draft drawn on your account. We will not accept payment by cash in a sum exceeding £1000.

Equality and Diversity

WR LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. A copy of our equality and diversity policy is available on request.

Third Parties

This agreement does not create any rights enforceable by persons not a party to it.

Applicable Law

Any dispute in relation to our terms of business will be governed by the laws of England and Wales.