Affordable and Dependable Legal Representation for all Budgets

Affordable and Dependable Legal Representation for all Budgets

Here at Debt-Claims, our lawyers know all too well that the potential costs of litigating where a small claims matter is defended can deter creditors or claimants from pursuing money owed to them. For clarity, claims up to the value of £10,000 will usually be allocated to the small claims track with higher value claims being signposted to the fast track or multi track routes.

Traditionally, a claimant could be expected to pay at least £180 (plus VAT) per hour for a lawyer to handle a defended claim. With an estimated six hours of chargeable time expected for an average matter (not including the hearing fee or attendance at trial) costs in excess of £1,000 would be a credible estimate. As these costs are generally unrecoverable in small claims, the financial risk lies with the claimant – even when they are successful.

How is Debt-Claims different?

What sets Debt-Claims apart is our pragmatic and costs-conscious approach to defended small claims matters.

We know the importance of pursuing debtors, even when the balance is a few hundred pounds. At the onset of a claim, our fixed prices for issuing proceedings are detailed up front, clearly defining what portion is added to the claimed balance and recoverable from the other side. Using our pricing guide, you can make an informed decision as to the financial costs of issuing proceedings.

What if my claim is defended?

Most people know that the financial risks lie with a claimant in small claims matters. With this knowledge, a savvy debtor is inclined to file a defence to put pressure on a claimant to discontinue proceedings. To combat this problem, we have three very competitive fee-packages available to our clients allowing you to take a defended matter to a hearing from as little as £200 (plus hearing fee*).

Option A – Our traditional package; all aspects of the small claims matter will be undertaken by one of our lawyers but at the special hourly rate of £100 (plus VAT) where you will only be charged for time incurred (in addition to any disbursements). In addition to our costs, there will be disbursements for a hearing fee payable to the Court* and costs of an advocate to attend the trial**. Whilst our costs are not claimable from the other side, you should be able to claim the hearing fee and advocate’s attendance fee back***.

Option B – As with option A, our lawyers will handle all aspects of the small claims matter for a fixed fee of £400 (plus VAT). With Option B, our costs are fixed and payable irrespective of what stage of the smalls claims matter the process is resolved at. The Court hearing fee* and advocate’s attendance fee** are payable as disbursements and should be recoverable***.

Option C – Option C is our budget option that is most suited to smaller value matters where the client is in a position to complete some of the simpler tasks their self. For £200 (plus VAT) we will prepare the witness statement(s) ahead of the hearing and file with the Court and debtor. The other aspects of the process will need to be completed by our client and we have a handbook available to guide you through this. With Option C packages, we will not send an advocate to the hearing and we will ask the Court to make a decision based on the testimonies filed. There will still be the hearing fee payable* to the Court.

How do I get started?

To get started, head over to our login page and sign up for an account. Once opened, you can get your initial Letter Before Action sent to the debtor.

*The small claims hearing fees are set out in document EX50 based on the value of the claim, with hearing fees starting at £27 for claims less than £300. The current highest hearing fee is £346, for claims in excess of £3,000.

**Depending on the court allocated for the hearing, we will either send our own advocate or a freelance advocate. An advocate’s attendance at a small claims trial will cost approximately £250.00 (plus VAT) but this can vary depending on location and trial length.

***Ultimately, the judge on the day will decide what costs are recoverable from the debtor. Whilst our legal costs are not recoverable on defended matters, we will make representation that the hearing and advocate’s fee should be recoverable.

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