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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have a signed promissory note regarding an amount that I

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I have a signed promissory note regarding an amount that I have lent to a friend over time which has now got to a point where I need the money back. The money was lent in a verbal and written agreement (txt) to be paid back but over this year she has been lent over £7k in 2021 but only paid back £300. After signing the promissory note and witnessed by her mum and documented I still have not been paid so I don't know where I stand. I got the promissory note from google. So I don't know if this is valid to reach out to a debt collection agency for eg?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: United Kingdom
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have tied to mediate the situation over many years for payment plans setup, standing orders setup. Budgeting her income to settle me over time.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I dont think so.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

In UK law, in a civil dispute context, a contract can be written, verbal or even implied by conduct. You have enough evidence in my view to pursue them for the money back.

You will need to know where they now live to be able to pursue them further.

I would recommend that you send them a formal letter before claim to demand payment within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation. The pre action protocol confirms you should send the letter to give the other party a chance to avoid court action and to pay you. The courts encourage compliance with the protocol as it can result in a resolution without having to involve the court.

You will need to register at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site.

Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are generally not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. This means the parties are on an equal footing, so you don’t need to worry about legal costs if you lost.

A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
Here is a user guide for the money claim online site: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/986795/ex50-eng.pdf

The court will then issue the claim and they will send you "notice of issue". The papers are served on the defendant who then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim - they do this by filling out an acknowledgment of service and they post it to the court. They indicate their intention when they do this, i.e. whether they admit the claim in full or partly, or if they deny the claim. If they want to defend the claim then their defence is due by 28 days from the date the court served them with the papers. The central court processing centre then sends the claim to the defendant's home county court for case management and directions - the directions will give a list of dates which you both must comply with.

If there is no settlement then the claim will be dealt with at a final hearing which takes anything from 9 to 12 months from when you start the claim - longer if the claim is higher value. You can pursue the claim yourself or use a law firm. For the hearing you can use an advocate if you wish, though it's not compulsory. I have details of law firms and advocacy agencies if you would like those. Though in a small claim you won't be able to recover their charges from your opponent. A small claims hearing is easy to do, it's quite informal and no lawyer is required.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904862/ex50-eng.pdf) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment.

So for example if you were owed £10,000, interest would be £2.20 per day, which you can also claim.

The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim. If a hearing is required then there is a fee for this too - see page 7 of the previous link for details. Again, that fee is recoverable if you win.

If you are on a low income or have low savings (or in receipt of benefits), you can ask the court for a fee remission so you do not have to pay the court issue fee.

The online site for applying for the fee exemption is here: https://www.gov.uk/get-help-with-court-fees

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), apply to summons them to court for questioning, attachment of earnings order against their employer (if employed), apply to bankrupt them if they are an individual or sole trader and they owe £5,000 or more - all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.

(insert their name and address) (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear (their name),

Re: Claim for (insert sum)

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute).

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against you for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on (insert date 14 calendar days).

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you very much for your reply Jim,I have a question that I would like some advice on, that being that I know this person does not have the money to settle in full, nor any assets to the value of. I know she lives with her mum so I guess with living in that house assets would be taken from the household correct?I know I set out a payment plan for her for £450 a month based on information she told me on her budget. But things changed and she asked for £200 a month after she signed agreeing to £450. If I agree for her to pay this £200 a month until the rest of the year I guess this makes the promissory note void?I just need to make sure I know where I stand.

The enforcement officers (if you had a CCJ and applied to transfer to the CCJ to the high court) would look for anything in their name from the house, yes. The promissory note is still valid as it simply records the fact they owe you a sum of money. It would not be void if you subsequently accept instalments.

The note just gives some evidence of what was borrowed to give you some insurance if they refused to pay or were unable to repay you back.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
the promissory note is not legally binding? as I mentioned the monthly payments plan and the duration with in this document.I can send you the draft version if it helps. The signed version i have physical but the draft is digital.
Hi, it’s legally binding if it’s signed, yes. A document revjew is charged extra under the premium service - I can review later today if that helps.
Customer: replied 2 day ago.
Good evening Jim, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, thank you for the information, how best would it be for you to review this document? I know I just paid £50 for this membership so I don't know if it is covered or not.
Customer: replied 2 day ago.
File attached (VT3LM6V)

Thanks and just a note that any further questions should ideally be posted within 7 days of this one (as the original one from 11th September cannot be kept open indefinitely).

If you have further questions may I ask that you post a new question to the main site. It will not cost extra if you have membership. If you would like me to deal with the new question please mark it “For JIM only” and I will pick it up as soon as I can.

Many thanks

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