Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Do you have a written sale agreement for the horse please?
Do you believe the buyer is insolvent or do you have no idea?
Thank you. Do you believe they have assets - eg. a house against which to claim?
Thanks. In view of the circumstances they claim would you prefer to push for monies owed or the return of the horse at this stage - if you have a preference that is?
Thanks. Based upon what you say you have a definitive sale contract and there is no right for the buyer to change his mind. Ideally your terms would state that title to the horse remains with you until it is paid for in full however the position is not significantly altered even if the do not.
Based on what you say you would appear to have a straightforward claim against the buyer. You could proceed on the basis that you negotiate a payment arrangement with the buyer in installments or warn that you reserve your right to serve a statutory demand and/or issue court proceedings for recovery.
You can of course only claim from them to the limit of their assets and if they are insolvent then you may not recover all you are owed. Ideally in these circumstances you would have a clause that states that title remains with you until paid for in which case you could recover the horse. Failing this you would be limited to a claim against the buyer (though this point is only relevant if they are insolvent).
If you wish to recover monies a simple approach is to serve upon them a statutory demand for the money owed. This is a warning of bankruptcy proceedings. It costs nothing to prepare a statutory demand and they can be effective in getting reluctant debtors to pay up if they fear being made bankrupt. Applying for bankruptcy will cost the best part of £1000 for you to do but you are not bound to take this second step after serving a statutory demand.
Assuming the buyer is an individual rather than a limited company the form to serve a statutory demand is as follows:http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/insolvency/docs/forms/ew/form6-01.doc
Alternatively you could consider county court proceedings in the small claims court. The simplest way to issue proceedings is by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
As you have an admission of the debt you could consider requesting summary judgement on the basis that the other party has no viable defence which if granted would be quick and avoid a hearing.
In any event once you have judgement you have a range of enforcement options available such as bailiffs to seize goods and property, attachment of earnings order to deduct for income, charging orders on their property and so on.
That is not an option available to them as there is a contract in place for them to purchase the horse. They cannot change their mind unless you have given them a specific right to do so (which I doubt) or unless they can show that you misrepresented something fundamental about the horse.
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