At Griffin Legal we handle debt recovery for a variety of large and small clients from a variety of industries and backgrounds. This article focuses on the debt recovery process in the ACT.
The first stage of debt recovery involves taking detailed instructions in relation to the debt, the debtor’s details and background. This is a good time for you to make discreet enquiries as to the debtor before they are aware of proceedings.
A letter of demand is then sent on your behalf. A good letter of demand is a useful, low cost tool for obtaining payment. Clients often report positive outcomes from a simple initial demand.
If there has not been a positive response, we then proceed to draft a claim for you which involves us drawing up ‘pleadings’ which are a legal expression of your claim. Well drafted pleadings are essential for a matter’s smooth transition through the litigation process.
The claim is then filed, either in the ACT Magistrates’ Court, if your claim is above $10,000, or in ACAT if it is less. Each jurisdiction has its benefits and challenges.
ACAT is a low cost, low formality jurisdiction. While its lack of formality can allow for the quick resolution of matters, the lack of formality also means that delay caused by self represented debtors can be indulged. Legal costs are seldom awarded in ACAT.
The ACT Magistrates’ Court, by contrast, allows the recovery of a proportion of legal fees in addition to the debt and, in rare cases, ‘indemnity costs’ which is effectively all of a party’s fees. It is a stricter jurisdiction than ACAT which can weed out time wasting practices. The ACT Magistrates’ Court has higher filing fees than ACAT.
Our experience with debt recovery suggests that contested hearings are rare. That said, we have a litigation team with the advocacy experience to take you through the rough and tumble of court room contest and obtain judgment in your favour.
If we obtain judgment on your behalf we can then harness the Court’s processes to ensure payment. This can include everything from examining the debtor in Court, to garnishing their wages or bank accounts, to ordering the seizure and sale of their assets. We can also, in appropriate cases, bankrupt a debtor and have their trustee in bankruptcy pay you from their estate.
Resolution and negotiation
At any time between the letter of demand and entering of judgment, we are able to work with debtors to come to terms regarding payment.
We can offer a variety of agreements that make for binding payment plans and which offer certainty for the parties.
If you need assistance in debt recovery please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 6162 1613