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Have you got anything documentary from him acknowledging the debt or the amount of money he has to repay you?
Does it acknowledge the whole of the debt and his responsibility to repay you?
Does he have income or assets?
Do you suppose he would deny the full amount or that it was the loan if you issued a claim?
Okay. Well the key is establishing that it was not a gift between a loving couple but a loan to be repaid. On the basis of the email conversation it appears as if you are pretty much over this burden, it's likely that this will be enough to sue on and issue a claim.
For the sake of certainty about the amount of loan I would let him cool down a bit and then send a surreptitious email stating that "....you're sorry to have pushed him last time about the £ X amount you lent me in 2008 and I appreciate that things are difficult for you. They are for me etc..etc.. but in the end you did agree to pay me the money back and I'm not asking for it all right but need some reassurance that you will pay this back to me...". Tease as much out of him as you can.
Something of that nature, hopefully he will acknowledge it and then you have your proof. This is enough to issue but first you might consider leaving it a bit then getting a solicitor to write a letter before action to him giving the background and asking for a structured repayment plan to be offered by him within 7 days otherwise you shall issue a claim. It should cost around £40.00 for this.
You can then issue a claim yourself through www.moneyclaim.gov.uk, it's very cheap and pretty easy to use.
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