The debt recovery process is broken up into four stages:
1. Pre-action. The claimant sends a pre-action letter or letter before action. Letters before action require the debtor to pay within 14 days if they are a business, or 30 days if they are an individual.
2. Issuing the claim. If the individual hasn’t paid the debt within the time outlined in the pre-action letter, you will need to issue the claim formally. Depending on how much your claim is for, you will need to issue it in the county court or high court.
3. Acknowledgement. Once the court has processed your claim and served it on the debtor, the debtor will have 14 days to file an acknowledgement with the court. Once acknowledged the debtor has 28 days from the date the claim form was served on them by the court (not from the date it was acknowledged) to send a defence.
4. Enforcement. If the debtor still hasn’t paid, you will have to bring enforcement proceedings. There are numerous proceedings which you can use to enforce proceedings. Some examples of enforcement proceedings include a writ of control, warrant of execution and bankruptcy proceedings. A debt recovery will identify which set of proceedings you’ll need to bring to recover your unpaid debt.
If a debt is paid after acknowledgement, you won’t need to enforce the judgement.