Rowland Law Price Transparency

Our professional rules require us to display prices and service information in relation to a number of areas. The only area relevant to our practice is debt recovery work for debts up to £100,000 (in other words acting for a creditor to recover an amount less than £100,000 from a debtor).

We do not undertake debt recovery work for debts under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
All our charges and fees attract VAT at the current rate of 20% (therefore a fee of £100 plus VAT will be a total of £120).
Some disbursements such as counsel’s fees attract VAT. Others such as court fees do not.
Where possible if a claim is simple and straightforward, we try and do the work for you on a fixed fee. If we cannot then we will charge you on the basis of an hourly rate. Our current hourly rate for Jeremy Rowland (qualified 1990) is £225 plus VAT (total £270).

We do not undertake work on a conditional (no win/no fee) basis.
Please note that all the costs below are on the basis that there is only one debtor.

Letter before action

This will usually give your debtor between seven to 14 days to pay although if your debtor is an individual a lengthier period will be required (30 days). 

Before sending a letter before action we will need to consider the terms of the contract between you and your debtor including details of how to contact your debtor.
The letter before action may threaten County Court proceedings or if your debtor is a limited company and the debt is undisputed, a winding up petition.

Our costs for a letter before action will be between £225 plus VAT (total £270) and £750 plus VAT (total £900) but if the claim is complex the costs can be more.

We will add the amount of our costs to the letter before action but that does not mean that your debtor has any legal or contractual obligation to pay those costs.

Sometimes we may check at the Land Registry whether your debtor owns the address that you have for him or her. The Land Registry fee will be £6 for each address that we check.

Claim form

If the letter before action does not result in payment in full or acceptable proposals for payment, then a court claim form will need to be issued in the County Court Money Claims Centre.
We will draft the claim form and the particulars of claim setting out details of the factual and legal basis for the claim and a calculation of the amount due plus any interest.

We will send the claim form and particulars of claim to the County Court Money Claims Centre to be issued and served on your debtor. We will let you know the date that the claim was issued and the dates by which your debtor must file an acknowledgement of service in court confirming that the claim will be defended and then file in court and sent to us a defence.

Our costs for the above will be between £900 plus VAT (£1,080) and £2,250 plus VAT (total £2,700) but if the claim is more complex the costs can be more.

Those costs will not necessarily be recoverable from the debtor (although an element of them may be if your contract with your debtor allows it). However, we will add what are known as fixed commencement costs under the Civil Procedure Rules to the amount of your claim. These are £50 for claims between £25 and £500, £70 for claims between £500 and £1,000, £80 for claims between £1,000 and £5,000 and £100 for claims above £5,000.

In addition to our costs there will be a fee payable to the court, details of which are set out in the following guidance note: https://www.moneyclaimsuk.so.uk/PCFForms/EX50.pdf

Default Judgement

If the debtor does not acknowledge service of the claim form or having done so, does not file and serve a defence within the relevant time period, we will send a request to the court for judgement for the full amount of your claim to be entered against your debtor.

When the default judgement is received from the court, we will send it to your debtor.
Our costs for the above will be £225 plus VAT (total £270).

Those costs will not be recoverable from the debtor. However, we will add what are known as fixed costs under the Civil Procedure Rules to the amount of the judgement. These are either £22 or £25 where the judgement is between £25 and £5,000 and £30 or £35 where the judgement exceeds £5,000. 

Even if a default judgement is entered your debtor can still apply for it to be set aside if they have not been properly served with the claim form (often by reason of a failure by the court) or if they actually have a genuine defence with a real prospect of success but simply failed to submit it by the required date.

Reply to defence

Occasionally it may be necessary to file a reply to your debtor’s defence.
Our costs for the above will be between £675 plus VAT (total £810) and £1,350 plus VAT (total £1,620) but those costs may be more depending on what is in the defence.

Case management

If a defence is filed, the claim will then proceed to a fully contested trial where a judge will decide whether the claim will be successful or not.

The first step will be to complete a directions questionnaire which gives the court information about what you think needs to be done to take the matter to trial so the court can give directions up to and including the trial.
If the claim is less than £10,000 the direction questionnaire is fairly simple and the court may allow things to be dealt with less formally up to an including the small claims hearing.

If the claim is for more than £10,000 then the directions questionnaire is more complete and further documents will need to be sent to the court at the same time such as draft directions, a disclosure report and a costs budget.
If the claim is less than £10,000 the court will usually make an order as to what happens next (called directions) without the need for any attendance at court.

If the claim is for more than £10,000 the court will usually require the parties to attend court to explain to the judge what steps need to be taken and, depending on the amounts in dispute, to agree the costs budgets for the claim up to and including the trial. We will need to prepare a case summary and chronology as well as a bundle of the relevant documents for the judge before the costs and case management conference. We will also correspond with your debtor or their solicitors as required by the court to try and agree matters before the conference.

After the court has given directions, we will let you know what the timetable is for the various steps that need to be taken.

Our costs for the above will be between £900 plus VAT (total £1,080) and £2,700 plus VAT (£3,240) but those costs may be more depending on which court the proceedings have been transferred to from the County Court Money Claims Centre.

Sometimes we will instruct local counsel or a local agent to attend the costs and case management conference. Those costs may be between £500 plus VAT (total £600) and £1,500 plus VAT (£1,800) depending on the nature of the claim and which court the conference will be heard.

Exchange of relevant documents (called disclosure)

The first step after the costs and case management conference is usually for the parties to make a list of all the documents that they have which are relevant to the dispute including those which adversely affect their case or support the other party’s case and exchange them.

Your debtor can ask for copies of the documents in your list and vice versa.
Our costs for the above will be between £2,250 plus VAT (total £2,700) and £4,500 plus VAT (total £5,400) but those costs may be more depending on the volume of documents that you or your debtor may have relating to the dispute.

Witness statements

Having dealt with exchange of documents the parties need to exchange statements of all the witnesses upon whose evidence they intend to rely on at the trial.

We will speak with all the people who could give evidence on your behalf at trial and draft statements for them to approve and sign. Once they are signed, they will be exchanged with your debtor or their solicitors. We will review the witness statements we receive from the debtor and advise you accordingly.

Our costs will depend on how many witness statements are needed and the nature of the evidence to be given in each of the statements and how many statements we receive on behalf of the debtor.

Our costs for the above will be at least £2,250 plus VAT (total £2,700).

Expert

In some cases, an expert may need to be appointed if for example there are technical issues that the court needs to be dealt with. That will usually be decided at the costs and case management conference.

The court usually orders a single witness to be jointly appointed by the parties. The expert will need to be chosen, the instructions to the expert will need to be agreed with the other side, we will deal with any requests for further information or clarification from the expert, reviewing the report and asking any supplemental questions before the report is filed in court.

Our costs for the above will be at least £2,250 plus VAT (total £2,700).

The expert’s costs will depend on the nature of his expertise and what is required of him for the court. An expert’s report can anything between £750 plus VAT (total £900) to £5,000 plus VAT (total £6,000).

Pre-trial review

Sometimes the court will ask the parties to attend court after witness statements have been exchanged to make sure that the parties are ready for trial. 

We will have to complete a pre trial report, a case summary and chronology as well as a list of issues and prepare a bundle of documents for the hearing before the judge. Sometimes the pre trial review can be conducted over the telephone rather than the parties attending court.

Our costs for the above, assuming a telephone conference will be between £900 plus VAT (total £1,080) and £1,350 plus VAT (total £1,620). If there needs to be attendance at court then the costs are likely to increase by between £675 plus VAT (total £810) and £1,125 plus VAT (total £1,350) although we may instruct local junior counsel or a local agent to attend on our behalf.

Hearing fees

Before your claim can come to trial (or a small claims hearing depending on the amount of your claim) you will need to pay a hearing fee by the date set by the court. If you do not, then your claim will be struck out.

Hearing fees in a small claim are £25 for claims up to £300, £55 between £300.01 and £500, £80 between £500.01 and £1,000, £115 between £1,000.01 and £1,500, £170 between £1,500.01 and £3,000 and £335 for claims over £3,000 up to £10,000.

If your claim is more than £10,000 and has been allocated to the fast track (because the claim is less than £25,000 and the trial will last no more than one day) the fee will be £545.

If your claim is allocated to the multi track then the fee will be £1,090.

Preparation for trial

Preparation for trial is very important to ensure that the judge has everything that is needed to resolve the dispute.
That will include drafting a case summary (although counsel may do that) and a chronology as well as preparing the paginated trial bundle with all the relevant documents including the claim form, defence, reply to defence, directions and any other court orders, witness statements and any documents which the judge will need to consider.

We will need to draft detailed instructions for counsel to attend the trial to argue the case on your behalf and to cross examine your debtor and his witnesses. There may need to be a conference with counsel before the trial to go over everything.

Our costs for the above will depend on whether the claim is a small claim, fast track trial or multi track trial. They will be between £2,250 plus VAT (total £2,700) and £4,500 plus VAT (total £5,400) but those costs may be more in a more complicated multi track trial.

Trial

If the claim is a small claim, then our costs for the attendance at court with you will be no more than £900 plus VAT (total £1,080).

If the claim is a fast track trial, then our costs for the attendance at court with you and for liaising with counsel throughout the trial will be no more than £1,800 plus VAT (total £2,160).

If the claim is a multi track trial, then our costs will be no more than £1,800 plus VAT (total £2,160) for each day that the trial is listed (so a three day trial would be no more than £6,480 including VAT).

In addition to our costs there will be counsel’s fees for the trial. Those fees will depend on the seniority of counsel.

Counsel’s costs for a small claim hearing should not be more than £1,000 plus VAT (total £1,200).

Counsel’s fees for a fast track trial including preparation and drafting a skeleton argument should be between £2,000 plus VAT (total £2,400) and £4,000 plus VAT (total £4,800).

Counsel’s fees for a multi track trial should be between £2,000 plus VAT (total £2,400) and £4,000 plus VAT (total £4,800) for preparation and drafting a skeleton argument and then the same again for each day that the trial is listed.
In addition, there may be costs for travelling depending on where the trial takes place and also conduct money which is payable to any witnesses who may need to be reimbursed their expenses for attending the trial for you.

Appeals

Even if a judgement is obtained at trial, that judgement could be the subject of an appeal to a higher court.
This schedule does not deal with the costs of an appeal, whether you are the appellant or the respondent.

Enforcement

If you obtain a judgement against your debtor, you may need to consider taking enforcement steps to recover the amount of the judgement if your debtor (now the judgement debtor) does not pay the judgement by the date set out by the judge (usually 14 days after the date of the judgement).

This schedule does not deal with the costs of enforcing a judgement debt.

Insolvency – bankruptcy and winding up petitions

You may want to serve a statutory demand on your individual debtor or threaten to issue a winding up petition against your limited company debtor if there is no dispute at all that the debt is due and owing.

This schedule does not deal with the costs of a statutory demand, threat of a winding up petition or the costs of issuing a bankruptcy petition or a winding up petition respectively.

Dated August 2019 (version one)