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Coronavirus – Is it still possible to pursue debt owed to me or my business?

29 April 2020

In these uncertain times, each and every business and individual needs to be especially conscious of their financial situation, maintaining cash flow and providing security and stability for employees. Whilst before the outbreak, businesses might have been more lenient in terms of debt repayment, it is becoming clearer by the day that further consideration may need to be given to recovery of debts.

With mortgage lenders and credit card companies giving payment holidays, it is a confusing time for businesses who are owed money and are wondering whether they are still able to pursue it.

The simple answer is yes, you are still able to pursue legal action to recover debts owed to you, even in the midst of this crisis.

Whilst Court buildings and offices may be closed, processes have not stopped and cases continue to progress and be heard by Judges, predominantly via telephone and video-link services. Although the final hearings in many non-urgent matters are being adjourned until later dates, it is still possible to issue proceedings against a debtor and to proceed to deal with the case in a normal manner.

It is important to remember that in spite of the current crisis, there are certain procedures which need to be followed and complied with, such as a Letter before Action. There is a requirement for some documents to be posted, which could cause a slight delay at the present moment, as post offices across the UK are struggling to cope with high demand, but there have been no changes to the standard postal rules as far as litigation is concerned. Although, there are indications that it may be acceptable to also send the letters by email, this often requires agreement with your opponent (easier if both are legally represented) and currently is a ‘grey area’ and is yet to be fully determined by the Court. At Poole Alcock, our litigation lawyers are able to send documents by post as and when required and progress your matter as quickly as possible.

Although there are currently some delays with the Courts processing applications, it is important for businesses to get ahead of the game and not to wait until the end of lock-down to try and recover money owed to them or to pursue any other legal claim. The situation is changing by the day and businesses should try, so far as possible, to forward plan and try to recover as much money owed to them as possible by taking action now.

Irrespective of the current situation, Court proceedings should be the last resort, but it is important to consider that legal action could mean that you are able to secure your debts, an important factor if, for example, the debtor were to become insolvent in the future. An example of this would be a legal charge over an individual’s property. Securing your debts by way of a Court Order would mean that there is a higher chance of recovery of your money, even if the worst were to happen.

If you have any questions regarding pursuing someone for debt owed to you or your business, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the Litigation team, who will be able to talk you through the best course of action, specific to you or your business.

 

 

 

 

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