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Debt Recovery Pricing

Debt Recovery Services

SME Solicitors offer a personalised and individual service for the recovery of commercial debts.  As part of our debt recovery service we provide a fast, cost effective and hassle free process to recover money owed to you.  We will act swiftly to assess the situation and liaise with you and the debtor to establish why payment has not been made and recovering monies wherever possible.

Our solicitors are committed to providing a client responsive service to ensure that court action is used only as a last resort. All of our lawyers are experienced and commercially minded, priding themselves on the level of legal advice our clients receive.  We provide you with direct contact details for the person dealing with your matter, giving you peace of mind that when you need us, we are here to help.

SME Solicitors serve local and regional clients, including private individuals, sole traders, partnerships, businesses and companies.

Our Charges

At SME Solicitors we charge you for the time we spend working on your matter.  We therefore advise you of the fee earner assigned to your matter and their hourly rate.  We will review the matter at the outset and estimate the costs for you.  For our Debt Recovery Services we offer fixed fees however in these types of cases there is always the chance that further information comes to light or external factors influence the matter.  As such this can impact on how we deal with your matter.  In the circumstances in the event that a case becomes defended our hourly charge out rates will apply.   

Our Team and their individual hourly rates

Our team has a number of years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to debt recovery claims.

David Denovan-Smith will be working on your matter. He will be supervised by Guy Salter. His hourly rate is £285.00 per hour + VAT at 20% (£57.00).


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as Court Fees.  We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Barrister (Counsel) fees are estimated as between £125 - £450 plus VAT per hour (depending on experience of the Advocate) for drafting documents where necessary and attending court hearings.  These costs will always be discussed with you prior to being incurred.

Sometimes it may be necessary to instruct an agent to attend Court on our behalf.  This may arise if the claim is to be served on the debtor by hand or if the issuing of the claim is time critical.  These costs will always be discussed with the client before the cost is incurred.

Travelling expenses to and from Court are charged at 45 pence per mile (+ VAT at 20%).  Train and/or parking fees may also be payable

We may also need to instruct an enquiry / tracing agent on the basis of a fixed fee usually in the region of £100 + VAT at 20%.

As stated below disbursements may also apply in insolvency related matters.

Stage 1 – The Letter Before Action

A Letter Before Action is a formal demand for payment and is the starting point for any debt recovery process.  SME will take your instructions, provide our engagement terms, provide a litigation supplement (*available upon request”), review the documentation, comply with the Pre-Action Protocol where necessary and send a “Letter Before Action” to the Debtor for the fixed sum of £50 + VAT at 20%.  Any telephone calls (not lasting more than 6 minutes), emails and any other communication will be charged at £22.00 each + VAT at 20%. In certain circumstances the cost of the Letter Before Action may be recoverable from your Debtor. 

Please note that if you wish to proceed with a claim then:-

  • The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor.
  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  • The costs quoted below do not include matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is required and/or needed to collect your debt.

Stage 2 – Issuing a Claim in the County Court Claim (as of March 2022)

When a claim is issued in the County Court the case will be managed according to the value of the claim, the legal complexities, the number of witnesses involved, the procedural elements that may be required to advance the case and whether a specialist Judge is required.

*These costs are recoverable from your debtor if successful.

**For Debt Recovery Claims over £5,001 we will seek to agree a fee with you.  As stated above the value of the claim can have an impact on how it is dealt with.  For example, there may be more documentation to consider and further time may need to be spent on the drafting of the claim.  Our costs may range from £375 – £2,000 + VAT at 20% depending on the amount claimed.  In addition, specialist input may be required from a barrister. 

STAGE 3 – Entering Judgment

If the debtor fails to respond to the claim within a certain timeframe or makes an admission as to the debt you may entitled to enter Judgment for the amount claimed.

*These costs usually are recoverable from your debtor

Time Scales

If the debt claimed is from an individual then the process from receipt of instructions to receipt of payment could take between 1 to 3 months depending on whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim.  This is because once an individual debtor receives a Letter Before Action they have a period of 30 days in which to respond. For a business debtor the process may be quicker.

If the matter becomes disputed / defended or enforcement action is required then the matter will take longer to resolve.

Insolvency fees

We can commence insolvency proceedings against your debtor on your behalf where it is appropriate.

** This does not include any attendance at Court.  Where necessary, this will be charged on an hourly rate and fee indications will be given on an individual basis.  Other disbursements such as Counsel’s fees may be payable.

Statutory Demand fees are not normally recoverable from your debtor.

Petition fees may be recoverable from your debtor subject to the Courts’ discretion and the debtor’s ability to pay.

Please note that a statutory demand cannot be used unless there is compelling evidence that the debtor cannot pay their debts as they fall due and there is no realistic defence and/or counterclaim.

Defended cases

If the case becomes defended, and where it is appropriate to do so, the matter will be passed to a solicitor in our Litigation Department where our hourly rate charges will apply.

For advice on debt recovery or any other matter please contact a member of the SME Solicitors' team today by calling 01905 723561 or emailing us at



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