Managing debt recovery is an essential part of any successful business. Most debt recovery litigation in Western Australia takes place in the Magistrates Court. For debt recovery to be commercial and profitable, it needs to be done efficiently. A lawyer who is experienced in debt recovery litigation can be worth their weight in gold to your business.
Letter of demand
Usually the first step in recovering a debt is to provide the debtor with a letter of demand. The letter of demand must not demand payment of money that is not legally owed to the creditor. The legal costs before litigation is started for example cannot be demanded. However, if the debtor has entered into a contract with the creditor in which the debtor has agreed to pay the creditor’s legal costs of debt recovery, the creditor may be able to recover their legal costs before starting litigation. A well drafted letter of demand from a lawyer will often be enough to convince the creditor to either pay the debt in full or to enter into a payment arrangement.
Our costs are fixed at $700 + GST for a simple letter of demand.
If the debtor doesn’t pay the debt within the time demanded, the next step is to start a case in the Magistrates Court by filing (usually) a general procedure claim. The claim should be completed online and emailed to a process server who is instructed to serve it on the debtor. By not manually completing the claim and not using a bailiff service you will avoid unnecessary repetition and delay. Self-represented debtors should also be managed in a way that prevents them from adding unnecessary time and cost to the debt recovery process. For example, if the creditor’s lawyer is instructed not to engage in fruitless discussions with the debtor they are obliged to carry out those instructions. In this way ineffective time spent on attendances with the debtor and charged to the creditor can be avoided.
The Magistrates Court process enables the early settlement of disputes by arranging a pre-trial conference for the parties early on in the case. At the pre-trial conference the parties and their lawyers are assisted by a Registrar of the court to try to resolve the dispute. The benefit to the creditor is that they don’t have to spend a lot in legal costs before they get the opportunity to recover their debt. This is not the case if a claim is made in the District Court or the Supreme Court. In those courts significant legal costs are ‘front loaded’ before a mediation conference is arranged and the parties get the opportunity to try to settle their differences. A skilled and practical lawyer will enter into early negotiations with the opposition, and propose private mediation early on in the case in an effort to speedily and cost efficiently resolve the dispute.
Our costs for a general procedure claim in the Magistrates Court up to and including the pre-trial conference are fixed at $2,200 + GST.
KLD Legal has significant debt recovery and general litigation experience, we have successfully represented creditors and debtors. Contact us now to discuss how we can effectively and efficiently recover your debt and prosecute or defend your interests.