Personal Debt Collection & Disputes

Individuals can unfortunately become involved in a wide variety of disputes and these may include such things as:

  • Enforcement of property rights
  • Boundaries and neighbours trespassing or causing nuisance
  • Disputes with contractors
  • Claims against the estate of a deceased relative
  • Disputes arising from contracts for:
    • The supply of goods,
    • Services
    • Residential tenancies
    • Business tenancies

We can advise you as to the law on these matters and the best way to resolve the dispute satisfactory and economically.

Not surprisingly the start of a dispute is initiated by a Letter of Claim. Such a letter needs to set out the factual background, the legal basis for the claim and the loss (if any) that you have suffered and the remedy that you are seeking. Letters of Claim need to be drafted carefully and this is a skilled service that we can provide. Equally, you may need to respond to a letter of claim and to dispute what is alleged. We can advise you about this.

The letter of claim may not produce a resolution to the matter and it may be necessary to consider taking court proceedings. The County Court now has jurisdiction to deal with most financial claims up to a value of £100,000 and those of a higher value will go to the High Court. Claims of less than £10,000 will be allocated to the small claims track (commonly known as the Small Claims Court). The small claims track is designed to be straightforward enough for litigants in person to bring or defend their own claims without the need to engage a lawyer. Consequently, Court rules state that even a successful party cannot obtain an order for the payment of his solicitors’ cost by the other party. This is an important factor that must be taken into account before starting proceedings for a small claim.

Why choose Hattens

Our staff are friendly & approachable

The advice given will be explained without legal jargon

Our clients best interest comes first

We have been serving the local community for over 100 years

The Small Claims Track has the advantage that you will be offered the opportunity of free mediation to try and settle the claim by agreement without the delay, expense and risk of pursuing the case to trial. Free mediation is offered by the County Courts Small Claims Mediation Service and takes place, not face to face with the with the opponent but over the telephone in a pre-arranged appointment.

Commencement of court proceeding requires the completion of a claim form and preparation of Particulars of Claim. In more difficult cases, the preparation of these documents is a task requiring skill and knowledge of the law. In the most complex cases and virtually all cases brought in the High Court, these papers should be drafted by Counsel (a Barrister). Where appropriate we are able to draft the claim for you and advise as to whether a specialist Barrister should be instructed.

A simple and inexpensive method to demand payment of a straightforward debt where there is no serious dispute, is the service of a Statutory Demand. This is a formal demand which requires the payment of a debt within 21 days of service upon the debtor. If the debtor fails to comply they can then be served with a petition for bankruptcy (or winding-up in the case of a company). The threat of bankruptcy or winding up is often sufficient to encourage the debtor to pay up. If you are in the unfortunate position of being served with a statutory demand and the debt is disputed, it is important to act quickly to apply to the Court to have the demand set aside. We can advise you about this.

Why choose Hattens

Our staff are friendly & approachable

The advice given will be explained without legal jargon

Our clients best interest comes first

We have been serving the local community for over 100 years

Once you have won your case then it may be necessary to take steps to enforce the judgement. A variety of means of enforcement are available and we can advise you of the options available. In some cases it may be desirable to apply for a charging order to secure payment of the debt upon the debtor’s land or property. We can handle such applications for you and if necessary, follow this with an application for order of sale of the property.

Sometimes, disputes concerning individuals can involve difficult factual disputes and complex questions of law. In those cases, we have access to specialist Barristers practising in every aspect of law and we can arrange for you to be suitably advised and represented in court.

We advocate the use of means of alternate disputes resolution to try to resolve disputes in a manner which is agreeable to both parties, is quicker and which avoids the delay, cost, risk and stress involved in pursuing cases to trial. We have access to mediators who have experience of a wide range of disputes and we can usually arrange mediation to take place at locations and at times to suit the convenience of all concerned.


Simon Mckay


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