At What Point Should a Solicitor be Instructed


A debt action can be brought within 6 years of the debt becoming due. If it is not brought within this period then limitation has expired, and any action will be barred. There are different stages when your debt action can be passed to a solicitor however you must check your terms and conditions to check that the debt has become due within your payment terms.

  1. When the invoice/payment become due – you have sent the debtor an invoice and this is still due after the payment terms. As soon as the payment terms have expired you can send the invoice to us and we can send a Letter Before Action (LBA).
  2. After you have sent a chaser letter – you can send a letter to the debtor yourself chasing the overdue payment and within the letter threaten that if they don’t respond, within a certain timeframe you will pass the matter to a solicitor. If you receive no response to the letter you can pass the invoice to us and we will send an LBA. This is a good idea if you wish to maintain the relationship with the debtor.
  3. You can send a Letter Before Action to the debtor yourself, but this must comply with the pre-action protocol. A link can be here and will be discussed later. If you have sent an LBA and you received no response, then the matter can be passed to us to proceed with legal action e.g. a County Court claim or Insolvency proceedings.
  4. If proceedings have already been issued or Judgment has already been entered against the debtor these can be passed to us to continue with action, including commencing enforcement action, if Judgment has already been entered.

Things to think about before sending the matter to a solicitor:

  • Who is the debt against? Do you have all the relevant information for the debtor?
  • Is there a dispute or a reason for non-payment?
  • Do you have all the relevant documents?
  • What are the prospects of recovery and is it commercially viable to pursue this?
  • Are you within limitation?

Documents to send over to your solicitor:

  • Invoice and/or statement of account;
  • Contract/agreement with the debtor;
  • Account opening form;
  • Any correspondence you have had with the debtor regarding the outstanding amount; and
  • Any disputes the debtor has raised in relation to the outstanding amount.

Amy Carlton is a debt recovery manager at law firm Sintons. To speak to Amy about any debt-related matter, contact her on 0191 226 3649 or amy.carlton@sintons.co.uk.


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