How Can A Leaseholder Extend Their Lease?

There are two ways that a Leaseholder (Tenant) can extend their lease:

1) Privately Agreed (Informal) Route

2) Statutory (Formal) Route


Private (Informal) Route

The Tenant could approach their Freeholder (Landlord) to request whether the Landlord would be agreeable to negotiate a lease extension.   Although this private route could save time and money however, there is no obligation on the Landlord to respond or agree to extend the lease.


If in the unfortunate events that the negotiation discussion between the Landlord and Tenant come to an end without any successful conclusion then the Tenant could consider whether they are able to extend the lease under the Statutory Route.


It is important to note that privately agreed lease extension requires lender’s permission. Therefore, if there is a mortgage registered on the Tenant’s property then the Tenant must obtain the lender’s consent.


Statutory (Formal) Route

A Tenant can apply to extend their Lease by the Statutory Route provided that the Tenant is eligible (such as owned a long lease for the past two years).


The Tenant would need to ensure that they have their finances in place in order to commence the Statutory Route. This is because the Tenant would need to pay for the following:

  • Surveyor’s fees to value to a new lease and negotiations etc
  • a premium to the Landlord to extend the Lease (once a premium has been agreed)
  • Once the Tenant serves a notice to request for a new lease then the Tenant will be liable for the Landlord’s costs
  • Landlord’s fees to extend lease
  • Solicitors costs etc


The Statutory Route has strict timelines that the Tenant must comply with. If the Tenant fails to comply with the timescales then unfortunately the Tenant would have to wait 12 months before starting the Statutory Route again. There is no requirement for lenders consent under the statutory lease extension route.


Terms of the New Lease

Under the Statutory Rules, the Terms of the New Lease are as follows:

  • Peppercorn ground rent (£0 ground rent) for the whole of the term
  • 90 years extension plus the length of time left on the current lease
  • Terms must be the same except for minor modification and exclusions allowed by law.
  • Premium payable for the new lease


S42 Notice – Tenant’s request for a new lease

Before a Tenant can serve a S42 notice, the Tenant would need to identify who the competent Landlord is.  The Tenant should apply to the Land Registry to find out who owns the Freehold Property and check who they pay their service charges and ground rent to.


If a Tenant pays ground rent and or services charges to a management company then all parties (Landlord and Management Company as well as any other relevant person) should be served with a copy of the S42 Notice.


The S42 Notice must contain certain information in order for it to be valid.  The Tenant must give the Landlord at least two months to give their counter-notice.


The Tenant should ensure that the S42 notice is protected by way of registration against the competent Landlord’s Title and also of any intermediate Landlord.  Failing to protect the initial notice will not bind a purchase of any reversionary interest in the property and therefore, the Tenant will have to start the process again.


S45 Notice – Landlord’s Counter Notice

The Landlord must serve their counter-notice within the 2 months period.  The Counter-notice must state one of the following:

  • Agree to the Tenant’s right to a new lease and accept the terms and proposed or propose different terms
  • Reject to the Tenant’s right to a new lease and explain their reason for this.It would then be up to the Court to decide whether the Tenant has the right
  • Claim that the Landlord has the right to redevelop the land (appliable only in certain circumstances)


If the Landlord has served a Counter-notice then it would be down to the parties surveyors to negotiate on a premium.  If in the unfortunate event that an premium cannot be agreed after the first two moths of negations, then both parties can apply to the Tribunal for an independent decision to be made.  The application must be made within 6 months from the Landlord’s counter-notice.


Once a premium has been agreed then the parties legal representatives can negotiate on the terms of the lease.  There are strict timelines on when the new lease terms must be agreed and when a claim must be made to the Tribunal.


In the event that the Landlord fails to serve a counter-notice, then the Tenant has the right to apply to the Court to seek an order for the grant of the new lease (on the terms as set out in the S42 Notice). This application must be made within 6 month from the date in which the counter-notice was required to be served.


If you are thinking of extending your lease or have any queries, please contact us. Our experienced property solicitors and litigation team have dealt with different types of lease extension.




Is Your Tenant In Rent Arrears?

Occasionally Landlords will have Tenants who complies with the terms of the tenancy agreement and pay the rent on time with no issues.

However, in the unfortunate event that a Landlord has to deal with a Tenant who defaults on the rent payments then the Landlord may wish to consider the options available to them. Whilst Landlords tend to own the property that they rent out a Landlord cannot simply kick the Tenant out, there is a process that the Landlord need to follow.


Enter in to Negotiation discussions with the Tenant

A Landlord should try and speak to their Tenant if the Tenant is in breach of any of the terms of the tenancy.  Any verbal communication should be followed up in writing to ensure that there was no misunderstand.

If the Tenant is in rental arrears then the Landlord may consider whether they would be agreeable to a repayment plan or seek the Tenant’s consent to deduct the outstanding rent from any deposit that is being held in a deposit scheme.   Sometimes communication with Tenants does not always work and therefore, this would leave the Landlord with the only option but to issue court proceedings to regain possession of the property.


Monetary Claim

The Landlord could issue a money claim against the Tenant for the rental arrears. There are set proceedings that the Landlord must follow i.e. complying with the pre-action protocol and sending a letter before action.

If the Tenant fails to respond to the letter before action then the Landlord can then issue a monetary claim against the Tenant.


Eviction Claim

There is a 3 stage process to eviction claims for both Section 8 (breach of tenancy) and S21 Route (possession and money judgment / possession only) which are set out below:


Section 8 Route - breach of terms of the tenancy

  1. Notice

Where a Tenant is in breach of the terms of the Tenancy or in rental arrears then the Landlord can prepare a Section 8 Notice giving the Tenant a certain length of time to rectify that breach.

  1. Issue Court Proceedings 

If the tenant fails to pay the arrears or rectify the breach then the Landlord can issue possession proceedings.

The Landlord have the option to issue proceedings online via possession claims online if the breach is only in relation to rent arrears. There is a court fee of £355. The court will issue the claim and if the Landlord has provided the Tenants address within the claim form then the Court will serve the claim on the Tenants. The Tenant will have 14 days to respond to the claim. The Court will also list the matter down for a hearing.


Section 21 Route - no fault possession 

  1. Notice 

Landlord must give the Tenant at least 2 months’ notice to vacate. This route has become stricter in a sense that there are a number of obligations on a Landlord that must be fulfilled in order to use this route.

  1. Issue proceedings 

There are two options which a Landlord could take which are as follows:

  1. Standard Route: The process is similar to issuing proceedings under the Section 8 route as a hearing date will be listed. A Landlord can use this route for possession and also a monetary judgment for the rental arrears.
  2. Accelerated Proceedings Route: this route can only be used if the tenancy agreement is in writing and all the Landlord's requirements are fulfilled (i.e protecting deposit, serving EPC certificate, served Gas Safety, How to rent booklet on the Tenant). The Accelerated Route is only available for possession only. This means that the Accelerated Route cannot be used if the Landlord wants to seek possession and also a monetary judgment for the rental arrears.
  3. Instruct Bailiffs

Once an Order for Possession has been granted (regardless whether it has been made under the Section 8 Route or the Section 21 Route), the Landlord can instruct County Court Bailiffs or apply to the County Court to obtain permission to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers.  The Bailiffs will then arrange an appointment date to attend the property to lawfully evict the Tenant.

If you are dealing with a "difficult" tenant or facing rent arrears, please contact our experienced litigation team.

Border Force Seizures

On occasion, packages are seized by either HMRC or Border Force when bring imported or exported across the UK border. This can occur for a variety of reasons. (i.e. the wrong tax or duties being paid, incorrect or missing paperwork such as licences-, prohibited items being included in the shipment, suspicion that the items in question may be the proceeds of crime).

Border Force officer may stop you when you pass through the green channel at airport. They are entitled to carry out baggage checks in front of you. You must declare to customs if you bring:

- Anything over your duty-free allowance

- Banned or restricted goods in the UK

- Goods that you plan to sell

- More than £10,000.00 (or its equivalent) in cash, if you are coming from outside the EU

Notice of Seizure of Goods

If you receive a Notice of Seizure of Goods from the Border Force, this means that items that you have tried to import or export haver been confiscated by the body in question. The communication will include the contact details of whichever organisation currently has your belongings in their possession, and will inform you of what to do next if your package has been seized by customs.

Border Force Restoration Policy

The Border Force restoration policy is a set of rules, stating that if Border Force has seized goods that belong to you, you can apply to have those item restored. You will need to submit a Restoration Request or Notice of Claim in 30 days after the seizures.

Border Force will consider all requests for the return of seized items, and will take into account all information that you provide to support your claim. However, if the items they have confiscated are prohibited or related to any crime – including tax evasion or smuggling – it is highly unlikely that they will be returned.

If you receive a Border Force warning letter (Notice 12A), the best first step is to seek legal advice. You should then contact the authority that currently holds your items as soon as possible, as Border Force expect to receive a Restoration Request or a Notice of Claim within a month.

Border Force usually start destroying perishable items such as alcohol and tobacco products after 45 days, so it is important to ensure that your claim is sent well before this time.

Border Force and HMRC

Border Force may pass your matter to HMRC if there is reasonable suspicion that is proceeds of crime related.

To request the return of seized items from HMRC, you will have to appeal a confiscation and request the return of seized items. HMRC and Border Force will consider all requests of this kind, However, if the items are found to be the proceeds of crime and/or are illegal to own in the UK, it is highly unlikely that they will be returned to you.


If HMRC or Border Force seized your goods, we can provide legal support by helping you to write as notice of claim or a restoration letter. We can also represent you if you decide to make a claim for unfair treatment by the Border Force officers, and/or if your HMRC seized goods are being treated as evidence of a crime.

Under these circumstances, a case may be taken to court claiming that the goods should not have been seized in the first place, and, if successful, you might be eligible for compensation. We have experience in helping clients dealing with Boarder force and HMRC, if you have any inquiry please contact us.


Rights As A Tenant In A Private Rented Property

A tenancy agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities between the landlord and tenants. In the unfortunate event where an issue arises then the tenants should refer to the tenancy agreement. Tenants have additional rights which are not always set out in the tenancy agreement.  To give an example, the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing.

We have set out below the key points that tenants should be aware of when renting a property.

Additional fees 

The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1st June 2019 and the centre of this rule is that it prevents landlords from charging tenants with extortionate fees. The landlords are allowed to charge the tenants rent, tenancy deposit, and or a holding deposit.

Under the Tenant Fees Act, landlords are no longer allowed to charge tenants the cost of their own references or police checks, general administration fees, or cleaning fee. Landlords who charge fees that fall outside of the Tenant Fees Act may be liable to pay a fine of £5,000 however if the landlord repeats the breach, then this could lead to a criminal charge or a fine of £30,000.

However, the landlord can charge certain fees provided that it is written into the tenancy agreement, these are set out below:

  1. Late Rent Fees

Landlords can charge fees for rent payments that are due over two weeks. The fees can be charged up to 3% plus the Bank of England base interest rate.

  1. Default Fees

This includes the tenant losing a key or damaging the property. The tenant can only be charged a reasonable amount as long as the evidence of the cost can be provided.

  1. Changes to Tenancy Fees

Landlords can charge up to £50 for making changes to the terms of the tenancy agreement. This can include changing a tenant’s name or allowing a pet.


Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords have the obligation to keep

the property in a habitable state for the tenants to reside in. This includes heating, hot water, access to power supply, water, etc.

These repair obligations cannot be changed by any terms written into the tenancy agreement and landlords cannot charge tenants for any repairs that fall under their mandatory obligations.

However, tenants would usually be responsible for the maintenance of the property. This includes the general upkeep such as changing the lights, unclogging sinks, gardening, and cleaning.

Should a tenant experience any disrepair issues such as mould, no heating, no hot water, etc then they should first report this to the landlord immediately.

If the landlord refuses to carry out the repair works then the tenant has various options available to them such as reporting to the local council and or issuing proceedings against the landlord.

House in Multiple Occupation License

The Housing Act regulations ruled that an HMO license is required for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. Landlords are therefore obliged to apply for a license application at the local council if the property needs licensing.

Ignoring the rules would result in the landlords paying a heavy price. There would be a risk of being prosecuted by the council and if found guilty landlords could get a criminal record, and be fined an unlimited amount. Alternatively, tenants can apply for a Rent Repayment Order and the landlord may have to repay up to 12 months of rental income.


Deposits were collected as part of the renting process and landlords are obliged to pay the tenants’ deposits into a deposit protection scheme. This deposit protection was introduced on 6 April 2007 as part of the Housing Act 2004 and these protection schemes offer a free service to help resolve deposit disputes between the landlords and tenants.

When a deposit was not protected under a scheme and no further information was provided by the landlord, tenants can apply to the County Court for an order that the landlord returns the deposit back or protect it under one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes.

There are rules on what costs can be deducted from the deposit. And the landlord cannot, in general, charge for the costs of maintaining the wear and tear of the property. The usual costs can include deductions for (1) damage to the property and missing or broken items, (2) cleaning fees, and (3) unpaid rent or bills.

If tenants disagree with how the deposit is returned, or the tenant does not agree with some of the costs that landlords have taken out of it, tenants must ask the landlord for a breakdown of the specific costs which were taken out of the deposit.

In the case where an agreement could not be reached between the landlord and tenant, the parties can propose to use the free alternative dispute resolution service offered by the tenancy deposit scheme.

Under the alternative dispute resolution service, the parties are required to accept the decision made and will not be able to apply the decision to the courts. If on the contrary the landlord or tenant does not agree to use the dispute resolution service, then the dispute will usually go to the County Court.

If you require assistance in relation to private renting disputes, or you would like to learn more about the rights and obligations shared between landlords and tenants in private properties, please feel free to contact us and we can discuss and advise on your best way forward.


Methods of Enforcing Your Court Judgements

A winning party (“judgment creditor”) may obtain a judgment for a lump sum from the losing party (“judgment debtor”) however, this does not necessarily mean that the judgment debtor will voluntarily pay what is owed under the judgment.   The burden is on the judgement creditor to take enforcement steps.

If the judgment debtor fails to do so voluntarily by the date determined by the court, then the judgment creditor would need to consider commencing enforcement actions in order to seek recovery of the money owed to them under the judgment.

It is vital for judgment creditors to investigate the judgment debtor’s assets / financial position first before commencing lengthy litigation proceedings.

We have briefly set out below a number of enforcement methods a judgment creditor may commence upon receipt of a court judgment.

  1. Taking control of goods is suitable when the judgment debtor owns assets, and this allows an enforcement officer to seize the judgment debtor’s goods and sell them in order to use the proceeds of sale to satisfy the judgment debt. Goods that are exempt include the basic domestic needs and tools of trade. The County Court dealt with debt sum up to £600 and the High Court dealt with debt sum of more than £5000.
  2. Third-party debt orders allow the court to intercept money that is owed to the judgment debt, such as credit balance in the judgment debtor’s bank account and divert this to us in settlement of the judgment debt.
  3. Charging orders are suitable where the asset in question is considered a land, but this only provides security for the judgment debt and not payment. For payment, an order for sale will be necessary after the charging order has been obtained.
  4. Attachment of earning orders enables the judgment debtor’s salary to be intercepted and diverted to us in settlement of the judgment debt. It is important to bear in mind that only a small percentage will be deducted from their salary so if the judgment debtor is on a fairly low income then it could sometime before the debt is repaid.
  5. Insolvency proceedings are another effective way to obtain payment. The threat of bankruptcy of an individual or winding up of a company can often be enough to prompt payment, should the judgment debtor has assets available to pay.

If you have a judgment debt that you wish to enforce or require assistance in obtaining a judgment, please contact us. Our experienced civil and commercial litigation team can advise the best course of action for your case and commence the enforcement proceedings on your behalf to assist you in recovering the judgment debt.

Our experienced civil and commercial litigators have many years’ experience in supporting businesses and individuals through challenging times. We have provided a speedy, effective debt recovery services to all our clients’ needs.

Across our team, we speak many languages including Mandarin and Cantonese, Gujarati, Russian, Portuguese, Korean and Spanish. With access to our solicitors at two locations, one in City and one in Mayfair, we cover a very broad spectrum of varying clients needs.

New Divorce Laws - "No-Fault" Divorce

New Divorce Laws - "No-Fault" Divorce

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force in England and Wales on 6 April 2022 and this signified a major development of England’s divorce laws for the past 50 years.

Key changes made under the new Act:

  • The need for the married couple to prove the irretrievable breakdown of marriage by citing grounds of unreasonable behaviour and separation was replaced by a sole or joint statement.
  • The statement of irretrievable breakdown of marriage serves as a piece of conclusive evidence for the court to make an order and this prevents a spouse from contesting the divorce.
  • A minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of divorce proceedings and the application for conditional order was introduced.
  • New language has been adopted to facilitate a better understanding of the divorce application.

Referring to the first point, the new divorce application introduced a “no-fault” basis which completely replaced the requirements under the previous divorce laws. This is because the previous divorce laws required divorcing couples to prove the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage by citing one of the five existing grounds, these can be referred to as:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Dissertation by one party
  • Two years separation with the consent of the spouse; or
  • Five years separation without consent

The previous divorce laws made it difficult for married couples who wanted their divorce to be settled in the most peaceful and straightforward manner. This is because the previous rules adopted a “blaming” basis and therefore couples looking to divorce must either put a blame on one another for the breakdown of their marriage or they must carry out a long-term separation to satisfy the requirements. Inevitably, this caused unnecessary stress and animosity which in turn encouraged potential conflicts between the divorcing parties.

Under the new divorce laws, couples can sign a sole or joint statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage to begin the application. This completely removes the need to blame each other or to give reasons for the breakdown of the marriage. Except for certain exceptional grounds, the statement also prevents a spouse from contesting /defending the divorce petition as it serves as a piece of conclusive evidence.

The new rules also introduce a new minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of the divorce application (signing the statement) and the application for the conditional order. When the conditional order is granted by the court, there is another period of 6 weeks before we can apply for the final order of divorce. This change effectively provides the divorcing parties a period to reflect and reconsider their decisions. However when a divorce is inevitable, this also allows the parties time to plan and cooperate on the practical arrangements surrounding the divorce such as financial and children matters.

A change in divorce law has been long-awaited as many would think the previous laws to be outdated, simply increasing animosity and stress in already difficult circumstances. However, the law in respect of financial provision for divorce will remain the same.

We at Chan Neill Solicitors relate to the emotions and stress often involved during the divorce proceedings and our experienced Civil Litigation team can assist in guiding you through every step of the divorce process. Please contact us and we can discuss your best way forward.



What should I do if I get into a car accident with a uninsured driver in the UK?

What should I do if I get into a car accident with a uninsured driver in the UK?

‘Have you been involved in a road traffic accident that isn’t your fault?’ This is a familiar question that we often hear from adverts. However, what happens if you were involved in a road traffic accident with a driver that was not insuredin the UK? In the absence of the insurers for the responsible party, is it still possible to make a claim and possibly get compensation for your injuries resulted from the accident?

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau are a non-profit-making company set up by motors insurers, who have entered into agreements with the UK government to compensate victims of motor accidents caused by uninsured drivers. The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires that every motor insurer must be a member of the MIB and must contribute to the funding of the MIB. The time limit to submit a claim is the same as road traffic accident claims against injured drivers – within three years of an accident if claiming for personal injury. In the case of injury for children, the three year time limit commences on the 18th birthday.

On the claim form, the MIB will ask you to provide details to learn more about your involvement in the accident, details of the parties involved, details of the accident, details of police involvement, witnesses, details of your claim, and any associated personal injury as a result of your accident.

Once the claim has been submitted to the MIB, you or your legal representatives will be contacted and an investigation will commence. The investigations by the MIB are to establish the facts, confirm the identity of the parties involved, obtain independent reports from motor engineers or witnesses, obtain a police report, and contacting other bodies such as the DVLA, your insurer, or a foreign bureau. If you are claiming for personal injury, the MIB may need to obtain copies of your medical records from your GP and hospital you attended after the accident. The MIB may also need to obtain an independent medical report to assess your injuries caused by the accident.

The MIB will compensate you once a causal link is established between your injuries and the negligence of the driver that you consider responsible.

Many solicitors provide services on a conditional fee agreement (also known as a “no-win-no-fee”) basis, which means you only have to pay for the legal services if your claim succeeds. For example, at Chan Neill Solicitors LLP, subject to conditions and eligibility, we take on no-win-no-fee cases for personal injury claims.

Chan Neill Solicitors LLP is one of the leading law firms in London which houses an established Personal Injury practice. Our experienced team of lawyers can offer specialist advice and provide solutions. If you would like to learn more about our Personal Injury practice, please visit

If you have any enquiries, you can fill in and submit the contact form at You can also contact reception at 020 7253 7781.

How do I evict a tenant to regain possession of my property?

If there are tenants in your property and you need to evict because of rent arrears, nuisance or for personal reasons to move back in to the Property or to sell it. Chan Neill Solicitors are able to assist to regain possession of your property from preparing the relevant notice, and if necessary, issue possession proceedings, provide representation at court and instructing bailiffs.


The Procedure of the Eviction Process

Firstly, we will need to know what type of tenancy that you have with your tenant.  In most cases, the tenancy is as assured shorthold tenancies.  We would check whether the tenant is on a fixed term tenancy or periodic (rolling month to month)


There is a three stage process to evicting tenants:


  • Notice
  • Issue court proceedings to obtain an order for possession
  • Bailiffs


1) Which Notice: Section 21 or Section 8 notice?


Subject to the type of tenancy that you have with your tenant and the reason you want to evict your tenant will depend upon which notice would be most suitable for your personal circumstances.


Whilst these notices are independent of each other and served for separate reasons, they provide the same result- we recover your property back.


Section 21 notice


Section 21 is a no fault basis whereby you are not compelled to provide reasons for eviction.  A Section 21 notice is usually served when the tenancy is coming to the end of the fixed term or if the fixed term has expired (periodic tenancy).


There are a number of requirements that you must comply with first before a valid Section 21 notice can be served on the tenants, these are:


  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • How to Rent Booklet, this guide must be given to a tenant at the start of any new tenancy
  • A Gas Safety Certificate


If a deposit was taken, then this must be protected within the requirement period. Failing to protect the deposit on time (within 30 days of receipt) will invalid the Section 21 notice.


A Section 21 cannot be served because the tenant has raised any housing disrepair issue.


The notice period for a Section 21 is 2 months.


Section 8 notice


A Section 8 notice is used where the tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy.  The notice must state the grounds that you are seeking possession of the property.  Landlords usually use the Section 8 procedure where a tenant is in rental arrears.


The notice period for Section 8 can be between 2 weeks to two months, depending on the terms of the tenancy / grounds.


2) Issuing Proceedings to obtain Possession order


In the event that the Tenant does not vacate the property after receipt of the notice, the next stage is to issue possession proceedings.


We can prepare the possession claim form on your behalf and issue it at the Court.  Depending on which grounds you are seeking possession, we can then determine whether we can apply for possession via the accelerated route or the standard route for you.




If we are successful in obtaining an Order for Possession and the tenants still refuses to vacate the property, we can seek recovery of the property for you with the help of bailiffs.


Should you wish to discuss any of the matters talked about above or if you wish to look to instruct us, please contact us. Our team speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian etc. Our offices are in Mayfair and the city should you wish to see us in person.


How Can I Recover Debts Owed To Me Or My Company?

If money is owed to you by either a business or individual Chan Neill Solicitors is able to assist in recovery of this money dealing with anything from letters of claim up to, and if necessary, the issue of legal proceedings and providing representation at court.

The Procedure of Recovery of Debt From an Individual or Business

The first step when looking to recover a debt is for our lawyers to understand what the debt refers to, the amount that is owed and a full breakdown of that figure.  We would also need to know any interim or part payments that may have been made for that debt or if any response has been received from the debtor in relation to the money owed.

Once we are satisfied that you do have a claim against a debtor the next step is to draft a letter of claim.  The content and structure of the letter of claim differs as to whether the claim is against an individual or a business.

Claims Against an Individual

If you are looking to pursue an individual for monies owed then the letter of claim needs to contain certain information including, but not limited to, the amount that is owed, a full breakdown of the figure, the amount of interest owed and the costs that would also be payable if proceedings are issued.  It is also necessary to include with the letter of claim a copy of a reply form and information sheet.  The individual must also be given 30 days from receipt of the letter of claim in which to respond before any legal action can be taken.

If an individual does respond to the letter of claim either on the reply form sent or by email/telephone, we would be obliged to act reasonably and in a cooperative manner when dealing with them.  What this means that if, for example, the debtor wished to repay the debt but only could afford to do so over an extended period of time because of financial commitments then we would be obliged to negotiate and cooperate with them in this regard.  Should the court discover that we haven’t been cooperative then we risk our claim being struck out if legal proceedings are issued prematurely.

In terms of claiming debt from a business the rules are more relaxed.  It is not necessary to allow a business 30 days in which to respond and you just have to afford them a reasonable period of time i.e. 14 days before you can issue legal proceedings.  The business does also not need to be sent the relevant paper work an individual would or be provided an estimate for the costs and interest if legal proceedings become necessary.

Issuing Proceedings

If the letters of claim are ignored then legal proceedings may be the only option.  Depending on the value of the amount that is owed will depend on the cost of issuing the proceedings (the issue fee) and the legal costs (solicitors fee).  Should the amount owed be above £10,000.00 then the legal costs can potentially be recovered from the other side on top of the debt.

Below are the different type of claims depending on the size of the debt.

Small Claims Track – claims below £10,000.

Claims below £10,000 are processed under the small claim procedure in England and Wales. This procedure is one of the most cost-effective solutions. However, the costs of these proceedings are almost never fully imposed on the losing party.

Fast Track – Claims between £10,000 and £25,000.

The fast track procedure deals with undisputed cases with a value between £10,000 and £25,000. As these proceedings often take more time to process than the small claims track, the costs of this procedure are often (partly) passed on to the losing party.

Multi Track – claims above £25,000.

For complex or disputed claims above £25,000, the multi-track procedure should be followed. On average, these procedures take longer than small claims and fast track procedures. In this procedure, the judge can also decide that the losing party must pay all legal costs.

After Judgment Obtained

If we are successful in obtaining Judgment either in default or after a hearing/trial then we can actively seek to look to recover the money for you with the help of bailiffs (if necessary) or potentially by way of charging order if the debtor owns a property.

Should you wish to discuss any of the matters talked about above or if you wish to look to instruct us, please contact us. Our team speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian etc. Our offices are in Mayfair and the city should you wish to see us in person.

How to look out for scammers and what legal action should you seek?

For the majority of overseas investors to UK companies, hopefully the investments have proven to be lucrative and or provided you with the ability to meet home office conditions. A small percentage of you however are falling victim to very unscrupulous people.

Here is one case we wish to example were we have assisted an investor and an innocent customer with.

The investor was advised that in order to help him comply with immigration visa rules, he could invest in a business opportunity and become a director and Tier 2 employee of a UK limited company. He would also obtain shares for his investment.  The investment was substantial and had been paid to the directors personal bank account on the directors request. Over a period of time, suspicions arose that the monies invested were not being used for the company. However the investor had no access to company bank accounts and so could not confirm his suspicions and he was kept being promised his shares will be transferred to him. A friend of the investor entered an agreement with the company to sell his goods. The goods were sold but the sale monies were not given back to the customer, but kept by the company . The director offered instead a repayment plan to the customer. No sale monies were ever returned. At this point the investor realised all his suspicions must be real.

The only way forward was to legally reclaim what the investor and customer had lost. The director of the business however placed the company into liquidation. The director thought this would stop any claim for the investment monies or sale proceeds. Normally creditors of a company have to stand in line for anything a company in liquidation can offer them back. Usually there is no monies to offer creditors and they lose everything.

However with our experienced help and legal advices, the claimants have been able to pierce the corporate veil and go after the director personally for the monies owed. This is a very difficult argument to make before a High Court judge. With a lot of time, patience and explanation of what documents and witness evidence was needed, we issued a world wide freezing injunction on the director in his personal capacity and also a full claim for all the monies owed and invested. A High Court judge accepted the directors personal assets should be frozen world wide and judgement against the director in his personal capacity was also granted.

This has been a great relief to the investor and customer. Our ability to give them hope and strength to see this through has been appreciated. Rather than lose everything to an unscrupulous director, they have been able to stop this director from using the corporate structure from evading his liabilities.

We urge any potential investor to instruct lawyers from the beginning to do proper due diligence on who they are investing in and who with. When you are investing hundreds of thousands of pounds or millions of pounds, it is worth having lawyers do everything to advise and protect you before investment is made.

It will not always be possible to bring such an effective claim against a director who has been unscrupulous as detailed above and therefore we urge prevention is a better solution rather than reaction to a loss.

We do carry out due diligence work for overseas investors and would be happy to hear from you if you wish to have more information on your target investment.

We have listed commercial proceedings if you would like to know details of procedures for such litigation.

1, Appoint a solicitor -- provide your solicitor with timelines, documents and evidence of the case.

2, Draft and send the letters (pre-litigation) to defendant before making a claim.

3, Decide whether to initiate court proceedings (Issue the Claim), aslo considering whether it needs to make special applications before litigation, such as property freezing orders and property disclosure orders etc.

4, Prepare the prosecution file including claim application form, civil lawsuit (Particulars of Claim)

5, First appearance in court and prepare documents for court hearing.

6, Final Hearing and Judgment

If you do find yourself in a similar situation with an investment you have made as exampled above, please do contact us and we shall be happy to help.