Debt Recovery and Employment: Our Services and Basis of Charging

Our Team
Collectively our team has many years’ experience delivering high quality work in the fields of employment disputes and debt recovery.
We have five members of the team who may work on your matter from time to time. Regardless of who acts for you personally, they will be supervised by Akanshi Agrawal a partner and Head of Dispute Resolution.

Akanshi Agrawal – Partner
Akanshi is a partner of the firm and heads the Dispute Resolution team. Akanshi has been qualified for over 10 years and has a vast amount of experience in debt recovery and employment matters, alongside general civil and commercial disputes.
Akanshi’s usual hourly rate is £230 per hour plus VAT

Nigel Holdcroft- Partner
Nigel qualified as a Solicitor in 1983 and has been with the firm since his qualification. Nigel is highly experienced in many areas of the law, with particular expertise in Dispute Resolution including debt recovery and employment. Nigel is presently reducing his workload due to his plans of retirement, however will still be available on a consultancy basis.
Nigel’s usual hourly rate is £250 per hour plus VAT

Jerry Nathan – Consultant Solicitor
Jerry has been engaged in the legal profession for almost 30 years. He qualified as a solicitor in 2000 following a long career in the insurance industry. Jerry has a wealth of experience in many areas of the law, specialising in Dispute Resolution including all forms of employment claims and debt recovery.
Jerry’s usual hourly rate is £250 per hour plus VAT

Amy Hadley – Trainee Solicitor
Amy joined the firm in 2015 as a paralegal and is due to complete her training contract in March 2019 when she will become a qualified solicitor. Amy has gained some experience in debt recovery and employment matters and is able to handle her own case load under supervision.
Amy’s usual hourly rate is £118 per hour plus VAT

Connor Raine – Paralegal
Connor joined the firm in July 2018 after obtaining a first class degree from the University of Portsmouth. Connor gained some hands on experience during various vacation placements as well as acting as an advisor at the University Legal Clinic and currently assists Akanshi with numerous debt recovery and employment matters.
Connor’s usual hourly rate is £118 per hour plus VAT

The team’s support staff includes Debbie Chaplin, Julie Lovely and Joanna Dooley.
Please note that the above hourly rates are correct as of December 2018, however may be subject to change. We will inform you of the current rates at the time that you engage in our services.

Our Services and Costs
Whilst the Dispute Resolution team provide a range of services, this note only deals with:
– Debt Recovery (undisputed debts)
– Employment (claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal)
We have indicated the length of time which may be incurred in any action. However please note that the costs and such other information is a guide only. We reserve the right to amend and/or vary the same on prior notice should the matter become more complex than originally envisaged or unforeseen difficulties arise.

Debt Recovery – Undisputed Business to Business Debts

The stages of a debt claim are usually:

Stage 1 – Pre-action

  • Taking your instructions,
  • Reviewing documents provided by you in relation to the matter,
  • Preparing and sending a letter before action,
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, if the debt is paid,

Stage 2 – Claim

  • Drafting and issuing claim, if the debt is not paid

Stage 3 – Entering Judgment

  • Where no Acknowledgement of Service or Defence is received, applying to the Court to enter Judgment in default, and
  • When Judgment in default is received, writing to the other side to request payment
Debt Value Our Fees (incl. VAT)(Up to stage 3) Court Fee(s) Total Cost
Up to £5000 £420 (£350 plus VAT) £35 (for claims up to £300) £455
£50 (for claims between £300 and £500) £470
£70 (claims between £500 and £1,000) £490
£80 (claims between £1,000 and £1,500) £500
£115 (claims between £1500 and £3,000) £535
£205 (claims between £3,000 and £5,000) £625
£5,001 to £10,000 £600 (£500 plus VAT) £455 £1,055
£10,001 to £50,000 £900 (£750 plus VAT) 5% of the claim Subject to the value of the claim
£50,001 to £100,000 £1,200 (£1,000 plus VAT) 5% of the claim Subject to the value of the claim

It should be noted that:

  • You will only be able to recover fixed costs from your opponent on requesting Judgment in default, which will not cover the entirety of your fees charged by us. ‘Fixed costs’ are
  • The Court fee incurred
  • The costs
Value of claim On issuing On requesting Judgment in default of an acknowledgement of service On requesting Judgment in default of a Defence
Up to £500 claim £50 £22 £25
Between £500 and £1000 £70 £22 £25
Between £1000 and £5000 £80 £22 £25
Exceeds £5000 £100 £30 £35
  • The VAT element of our fees cannot be reclaimed from your debtor if they are VAT registered.
  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  • The costs estimates above are not for matters where enforcement action is needed to collect your debt. Enforcement action is explained under Stage 4 and the associated costs are set out below.

Stage 4 – Enforcement

  • If payment is not received within 14 days from the date of the Judgment, providing you with advice on enforcement and other options.
  • Making the applications as set out below

 

Enforcement Method Our Fees (incl. VAT) Court Fee Total Cost
Attachment of Earnings Order £170 (£150 plus VAT) £110 £280
Application for seizure of goods by County Court Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers £170 (£150 plus VAT) £110 (County Court) £280
£66 (High Court) £280
Application for a Charging Order over Land £420 (£350 plus VAT) £110 £530
Third Party Debt Order £420 (£350 plus VAT) £110 £530

Disbursements

In addition to the Court fees set out above, the following disbursements may also be incurred:

  • Tracing Agents may need to be used to locate Debtors where they have relocated and an address is not known. The services offered by tracing agents vary and this is reflective in their costs which may range from £50 to £200 plus VAT.
  • Land Registry fees as follows:
  • Obtaining Office Copy Entries                                     £3.00 per document
  • Registration of a Charge                                                                £20.00
  • Process Servers (to personally serve documents)                             £125- £175 plus VAT

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of disbursements and further and additional disbursements may be necessary.

Length of process

Provided that the debt is not disputed at any stage and subject to Court availability, we estimate that to obtain Judgment (in default) will take between 8-10 weeks.

Statutory Demands

This note does not include our costs related to the preparation and service of Statutory Demands and/or insolvency/bankruptcy petitions and you are requested to contact one of our team members for further details of the same.

Contested Debts

This note does not include our charges for disputed debts. A debt may become disputed at any time. In this event we will let you have details of the costs incurred to that time and provide an estimate of future costs to progress the matter to trial. If a debt becomes contested you should carefully consider the sums which you are seeking against the potential costs in reaching your decision as to how you wish to progress. Limited costs may be recoverable from your opponent if the matter is of a value less than £10,000 (the Small Claims limit).  

Employment –Wrongful or Unfair Dismissal Claims

It is very difficult to give a precise estimate of the costs involved in bringing, defending or counterclaiming in a wrongful or unfair dismissal claim, however we have set out below a guide of the likely fees that you will incur with us, depending on the complexities of the matter.

 

Complexity Fees (exclusive of VAT) Complexity factors
Low £10,000- £20,000 ·   Only one issue which does not include any discrimination
Medium £20,000- £40,000 · May include 2-3 issues, but only one discrimination matter
High £40,000- £60,000 ·   Multiple issues which may include multiple discrimination issues

All charges are at the conducting fees earner’s hourly charging rate as set out above in our team structure.

In addition, the following Indicative (non-exhaustive) factors that will make a case more complex include:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending/counterclaiming in claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (where not agreed by the parties)
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim (e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer)
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attendance at a Tribunal Hearing of up to £2,000 per day (plus VAT) if our attendance is required. Generally, we would anticipate 2-3 days for a medium complexity case.

The fees set out above cover the work in relation to a claim of unfair or wrongful dismissal including:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change),
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
  • Preparing claim, counterclaim or response
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • preparing bundle of documents
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel if appropriate

The stages set out above are an indication. If some of stages above are not required or other stages are introduced, the fee will be reduced or increased respectively.

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case may take 4-6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 9-12 months. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to others e.g. Counsel, the Court, HM Land Registry, enquiry agents, process servers. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smooth process.

In Employment Tribunal Hearings, the most common disbursement is Counsel’s fees which we estimate may range between £200 and £400 per hour plus VAT (depending on the experience of the barrister).  Usually Counsel will advise on your matter throughout, prepare for and attend the final hearing and accordingly, Counsel’s fees could range from £5,000 to £20,000 plus VAT.

Other disbursements may include:

  • Travelling expenses
  • Witnesses’ expenses
  • Experts’ fees i.e. for a medical report

Please note that recovery of your costs in employment claims from your opponent even if you are successful, is very rare. Accordingly, you should be satisfied that it is economical for you to instruct us.  You should consider what if any funding options are available to you, including legal expenses insurance under an insurance policy which you may hold.