Threatening legal action

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This will almost invariably be because of unpaid bills. If you are unable to resolve a matter on the telephone, send a letter setting out your claim and warning that you are about to commence proceedings. It should be similar in style to a regular reminder letter and you need to sound polite but persistent and, above all, determined.

It should be signed by someone as authoritative as possible and sent by first-class, recorded post. You should state what will happen if your debt is not settled and you must be prepared to follow your threat through- if you do not, the client will never pay and may inform other clients that they do not need to pay either.

This may well do the trick. If it does not, however, you will be forced to follow it up with another, even more forceful letter. It is evident that you are not going to be paid, if the debtor can avoid doing so, and only the threat of imminent legal action may have any result now. Keep your last letter before action as matter- of- fact as possible, since it may appear in evidence in court.

State simply what the debt is, how long you are giving the e debtor to pay and be very specific that no further correspondence will be written before legal action is taken. There is no need to add extra threatening language- if the debtor is going to pay you, they will now. If they are not, you will have to go to court to sort the matter out anyway, so there’ no point wasting your ink.

You could instruct a solicitor at this point, but this will cost money and may not be necessary. Bearing in mind that a court will expect both parties to have done all they reasonably can to settle matters before proceedings are begun, and that there is absolutely no point suing if you now go to court to claim your debt.


As long as your claim is under 15,000 you can go straight to the county court to recover your money. Contact their office and they will help you. There’s no need to be anxious or to write a letter. They will give you the correct claim from and they will help you to complete the boxes. If you get stuck, ask. If you don’t know what to say, tell the truth it is simply enough to get an order forcing the debtor to pay- always remember, however, that if someone has no money, they will never be able to pay you.

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