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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Having taken over my companies books I am discovering that

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Having taken over my companies books I am discovering that various debts have not been pursued; many go back several years and a frequent response is that that this is too late (it is within the 6 yr limit) or this is too much bother for them and/ or they are refusing to do anything or they insist they have been paid and refuse to give any more information; how should I phrase my insistence that is not enough and what are they obliged to do by law - all I know is that no money has reached us.

Rgds Patrick

Hello Patrick,

Thanks for your question.


You've got to write to them outlining the debt, when it was incurred, that it was unpaid and asking them to pay the money to you within a stated time (eg. 7 or 14 days) otherwise you will issue a claim for the money at Court. Draw their attention to s.5 Limitation Act 1980 or if the contract was signed as a deed s.8 for which the time limit is 12 years and therefore your claim is not time barred by statute. Entitled the letter "Letter before intended legal proceeds" and embolden it.


If you cannot find evidence of payment or they cannot produce evidence then you have an actionable claim, make this point to them and it will get them to engage in the issue. This will get the attention of those that cannot be bothered with it, similarly with those that refuse to do anything.


Quite simply, if it is a debt of the business the business has a right to pursue it. If they state that they do not owe the debt then they should produce evidence to show that it has been repaid. If it ends up with the debtors saying they've paid and the business saying it hasn't then you are just going to have to issue and litigate.


If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,




Thomas and 4 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Invoice dated 30/3/04; my collection agency told me deadline was 30 days after invoice date plus 6 years - therefore as of 30/4/10 I can no longer use litigation to pursue the debt if and cannot (this from debtor’s solicitor’s letter "pursue the debt if the debtor has heard nothing from the creditor during the relevant limitation period".
My reply was (30/4/10) The problem with that is that the relevant period is from when the debt was due (30 days from the date of notification of the amount of debt (ie the invoice) was from 30/4/04 to 30/4/10 and obviously, aside from any conversations we may have had on the phone which I cannot prove, your letter could not have been written had you not heard from me within the said relevant period, therefore that is not correct.

Or is it?



You will not be able to pursue that debt if your stated chronology is correct. No claim, regardless of correspondence/conversations, can be pursued if six years has expired from the date the cause of action accrued - this would be the date at which the contract was breached, so if payment terms on the invoice is 30 days from the date of the invoice then the cause of action would accrue the day after that.

I think it's unfortunate phrasing from the debtor's solicitor really.


Sorry it could not be better news.


Kind regards,




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Very helpfull. As I have more of these pending (dont ask, a shambles I know) what is it imperative I do before the deadline - presumably file a claim, but if it does not come up before the deadline?


Yes, you have to issue the claim before the time limit expires. As long as you have it on the Court books before the time limit then it does not matter if the 6 years expires during litigation.


Thank you for the kind accept.





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