Trying to settle a claim before taking court action is important. The courts may penalise a claimant who doesn't attempt to settle a claim before taking legal action.
Only consider court action if the payment reminders and other measures described above have been unsuccessful in prompting payment.
It is essential to give the customer a final chance to pay before starting legal action.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, a court will expect the claimant to have set out a claim in writing before issuing proceedings.
A formal Letter before action sets out the debt and gives the other party a reasonable time to reply - a month is usual. The other party should also be warned that court action will be initiated if they fail to reply within the given time.
For more information, read Issuing a money claim.
In Scotland, money owed can be reclaimed in one of two ways, depending on how much money is owed. The ‘simple procedure’ is for uncomplicated cases worth less than £5,000 while the ‘ordinary cause’ is for cases worth more than £5,000 or those which are complicated.
Different rules apply depending on which method is used.
For more information, read Small claims court in Scotland.