To Sue or Not to Sue – Part 1

January 8th 2016

Employees walking through a busy office boardroom

The Truth!

Does another business owe you some money?  Are they being a pain about paying you?  If so, you’re probably wondering how best to persuade them to hand over the cash to you.

The truth of the matter is that it probably is not going to be that easy.  Sorry.  I know that is not what you wanted to hear but there is no magic wand to wave that will make a bad payer suddenly turn into a Lannister (who knew that you could shoehorn a Game of Thrones reference into a legal article?!).  Unfortunately, there is literally no way to guarantee receiving the money.

However, the good news is that there are things you can do to try to extract your money; some of which need not cost you a fortune.  This series of articles will look at your options.

The Big Bad Claim

Let us start with the obvious choice.  You sue someone and you get your money back after you’ve done your Perry Mason thing in Court.  Sorted!  Well, I can dream……..

Unless you are in it just to prove a point then the object of suing your debtor is to try to get a County Court Judgment which will be placed against their Credit File thus causing them detriment to their business operations.  The Judgment can be enforced through the various methods available such as sending the High Court Enforcement Officers round to bang on the door or obtaining charges over property.  At some point along the way, the debtor hopefully pays and you’re happy.

Sometimes it goes that smoothly.  No, really, it does.

However, the potential problem with issuing a Claim is that the debtor gets a chance to respond and they might file a Defence and possibly really put the cat amongst the pigeons by filing a counterclaim.  Getting these cases to Court can be very expensive with no guarantees of ever seeing any money from your debtor with the added risk of losing and having to pay them some money.

The key before starting litigation is to be sure of what you are getting into – can you back up your claim with all the proper, completed paperwork?  Is there a genuine dispute that could lead to a Defence and Counterclaim which would mean participating in expensive litigation?  Is the debtor still trading?  Are you suing the right business or even the right legal entity?  Do you want to spend out a whole lot of money for court fees, which are constantly increasing, for a debtor who may never pay?

Being fully prepared is crucial to bringing a Claim against a debtor.  Get it wrong and you could end up in a nightmare situation.

But what else can I do, I hear you cry!  Join me next time for another option.

If you would like any further information please contact Pete Gardner, Defended Commercial Recoveries Manager, on 01295 204038 or email

To Sue or Not to Sue – Part 2 is available to read here.

To Sue or Not to Sue – Part 3 is available to read here.

To Sue or Not to Sue – Part 4 is available to read here.

To Sue or Not to Sue – Part 5 is available to read here.

*Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.*