You know the old joke:
Q What is an insolvency practitioner?
A Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.
Perhaps a little unfair and certainly so when it applies to U.S bankruptcy attorney Patricia Redmond.
Registry Trust has reported the number of debt decrees registered against Scottish businesses reached a record low during the first six months of the year.
There were 1,198 debt decrees registered against Scottish businesses in the first half of 2017, down a third on the previous year and the lowest on record. The total value of business decrees fell 55 percent to £7.6m and the average business decree was worth £6,342.
Ok – I really do apologise for the headline but I think it’s a good way to draw your attention to the Apologises (Scotland) Act 2016.
So it’s now official. You can apologise in Scotland for a mistake without the apology affecting your legal liability. The Act, which came into force in June 2017 provides that:
“In any legal proceedings … an apology made (outside the proceedings) in connection with any matter –
(a) is not admissible as evidence of anything relevant to the determination of liability in connection with that matter, and
(b) cannot be used in any other way to the prejudice of the person by or on behalf of whom the apology was made”.
Great emphasis has already been made about the use of statutory demands. They are best used for undisputed debts against Limited Companies and individuals as an alternative to litigation. Their popularity stems from the fact that they can be processed quicker than most court actions and often at a lesser cost. Remember that when a court action has to be raised money has to be paid into court. In Scotland these are known as ‘warrant dues’, in England issue fees.
Stephen Cowan Examines Changes to Court Procedures in Scotland when Recovering Debts
ON the 28 November 2016, Scotland’s court procedure to recover debts of less than £5,000 was radically altered. The old Summary Cause and Small Claims procedure has been swept away by new, more simple rules, with unrepresented litigants in mind. The new rules will allow the Sheriff to ‘take an interventionist approach to identify the issues, assist parties to settle if possible, and to determine how the case progresses.’
A relatively quick and inexpensive way of recovering cash from a slow paying limited company is the use of the statutory demand for payment. Many creditors prefer this to taking court action which is perceived as being both slow and costly.
Regular readers may remember the Cavendish Square Parking Litigation (Cavendish Square Holding BV  UKSC 67)
ParkingEye charged £85 on an individual, Mr Beavis, for overstaying a two-hour permitted period of free parking at a retail park in Chelmsford. The Court of Appeal (in agreement with the High Court decision) rejected an argument that the charge was penal.
If I were to mention the term ‘Summary diligence’ most of you would attempt to stifle a yawn. But if I were to say that ‘summary diligence’ could avoid you in having to take court action to recover a debt because it’s the equivalent of a court’s decree then wouldn’t you sit up and listen?
Have you, like me, sat through courses on telephone collections? How many times has the course leader emphasised that we must have empathy with the customer. After all if you make “friends” with the customer you’ll be able to establish a rapport and gather information the net effect of which will improve recovery rates. All techniques we’ve been taught – open questions, closed questions, how you open the call and finally closure. Add in a bit of “treating the customers fairly” into the mix and we have the recipe for effective pre-sue collections.
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