Wright Johnston and Mackenzie Solicitors

Debt Recovery FAQs

Not all claims are the same, but you may have similar questions.

So that we can help ensure you are as informed as possible, because that way the chances of debt being incurred are so much lower, we have put together our responses to some Frequently Asked Questions. Of course, if you have any other questions, then you should contact a member of the team.

If we've answered all of your questions, you can instruct us directly through this site.

Existing clients: sign in and instruct us directly

New clients: register with WJM

Can you collect all of the money due to me?

Absolutely. When you come to us, we will pursue all of your debts if you want us to do so, and whenever we raise a court action for you, we will include all of the sums you are owed. Of course, your debtor may not be able to pay all of the money to you, and may want to negotiate a settlement. Working to parameters set by you, we can carry out those negotiations on your behalf, and we will only conclude a deal having received your final approval.

Can you recover interest and expenses?

Yes, both interest and expenses. Your contractual terms and conditions may specify what interest rate you are entitled to recover, but legislation introduced in 1998 allows you to charge a fairly high interest rate (8% above the base rate) if your contract does not already provide for interest.

For expenses, we will always seek these as part of a court action. Sometimes, though, there can be a shortfall between the amount of expenses you can recover from a debtor and the amount which we have to charge you (if, for example, we have had to do a large amount of complicated work to recover a debt which is actually quite small). We will agree all of this with you up front, though, so there should be no hidden charges.

How much will it cost me?

Our fees are usually structured so that, hopefully, it will cost you nothing. In court cases, our costs are usually restricted to an amount similar to the expenses which you can recover from your debtor, so if the debtor pays up after court then you may not be out of pocket at all. It is only if the case becomes more complicated (for example, if the debtor defends the claim) that our costs will get higher, but we are committed to keeping you informed as the case progresses, so that you have all the necessary information to allow you to make your decisions on how to proceed.

How long will it take?

In our pre-court service, this will be as long as you want us to chase for payment, and will usually be from 7 days after we receive your instructions, up to around 30 days. If we cannot collect your debt within 30 days, we will probably recommend either not proceeding (for example, if your debtor is bust) or going to the court stage. Once a case gets to court, the procedure can take anything from 3-4 weeks where the action is not defended, up to several months if a complicated defence is lodged. Once the boundaries of any particular action become clear, we are committed to outlining the timetable for you so that you know what is due to happen and when.

What do you need from me?

In the first place, we only need very limited details - your debtor’s name and address; the best way to contact your debtor (eg phone number, e-mail address); a note of what is outstanding and what the debt relates to (including a copy of any invoice if possible); and any information about the contract which might affect the way in which we try to recover the debt (for example, special terms and conditions or payment terms). If a claim is defended, we might then need more information, but we can advise you on that aspect when it comes up.

What process do you go through?

We have a pre-court service, which is a process of contacting your debtor to demand payment, then following up with phone calls, letters, e-mails etc, to try to get your claim to the top of the debtor’s pile. If necessary, the next stage is our court service, which involves us raising court actions for payment, and perhaps trying to secure a debtor’s assets as well. The process from there very much depends on the debtor’s reaction and response, and of course we will always tell you what is coming up and what to expect.

Will I have to go to court?

Not necessarily. If you instruct us to do so, we will try our pre-court service first, to try to get your money back without having to go to court. Sometimes, though, court action is unavoidable, if your debtor simply ignores the claim or there is a dispute. We only ever raise court actions if we have your authority to do so, and even then, most cases then settle out of court before we have to even think about putting you into the witness box.

What if my customer can’t pay?

Unfortunately, we cannot get blood from a stone, and if a debtor simply does not have the resources to make a payment, then there is a limit to what we can do. Using our pre-court service can find this out quite quickly, although we do not accept a debtor’s statements about his or her ability to pay just because they say so. Our overall aim is to prevent you from incurring costs needlessly, so if it looks as though a debtor is bust and unable to pay, we will tell you and advise you against throwing good money after bad.

What if the parties are not in Scotland?

If your debtor is in Scotland but you are not, we can sue in Scotland without difficulty. If you are in Scotland but your debtor is not, then we can still sue in Scotland although, depending on the circumstances, enforcement of a court judgement can be slightly more tricky (but by no means impossible). We have a network of “local agents”, who are firms of solicitors with whom we exchange business and contacts, so if we cannot act in an area because it is not within Scotland, you can be assured that we will be able to pass you to a firm which shares our outlook and our skills, and will be able to progress your claim for you. Of course, if neither party has any connection with Scotland, there is very little we can do, but we should still be able to point you to a firm in your area who can assist.

What makes you different?

Our service is built entirely around the needs of you, our client. You tell us how hard you want to chase for payment, and we design a recovery strategy around that. You tell us when to stop and when to go to the next level, and we can react instantly. We will tell you when you are about to incur a fee, or take a substantial step, so that you can decide if you want to proceed. We are sensitive to when you may have an ongoing relationship with your customer or debtor. We provide a seamless service, both before court, during a court action and then afterwards when enforcing a judgement - you do not need to use three different advisers to get a recovery. We are cost-effective, and often you will not have to pay anything at all, or at most a small amount, to get great results.

Instruct us directly

To make the process of instructing us even easier, you can now do so through this website.  We will need to establish you as a client of the firm on our system first time around, so please e-mail Steven Docherty or call him on 0141 248 3434 to start the process.

Once registration is complete, you will be able to access our Instruction Form to send your request directly to us.