How Long Does It Take To Recover Debt?

The timeline for UK debt recovery depends on several factors, each depending on the circumstances of each case. There is also a time limitation within which the debt collection legal process must be started.

‘Statute Barred’ Time Limitation

Most creditors starting a debt collection legal process will want to know: “Is there a time limit on debt recovery?”

The answer is yes, with most types of debt needing to be claimed within six years in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (five years in Scotland). Exceptions to this time limitation include mortgage shortfalls and council tax arrears.

How long it takes to actually recover a debt depends on the circumstances, so let us look at the most common scenarios.

Debtor Pays Quickly To Avoid Court

The best legal debt recovery you can hope for is that the debtor acknowledges the debt and immediately pays to avoid going to court.

This scenario actually happens quite often as legal debts are difficult to dispute if the creditor has the necessary proof of debt in the form of signed agreements, invoices, or statements. Once the debtor has received the ‘letter before action’ from the creditor’s chosen legal administration assistant, they have 14 days to respond before court action.

Importantly, the letter will include proof of debt. Thus, assuming the debtor wants to avoid court, the debt repayments should be arranged and the debt recovery underway shortly afterwards.

Debtor Ignores Letter

If the debtor ignores the letter, then court proceedings will be necessary. Court arbitration hears both sides, but if the debtor continues to ignore the claim and does not show up to court, then the court will automatically rule in your favour.

This should technically be one of the quicker timeframes once the court is involved, but it could still take weeks or even months before the debt is fully recovered.

Debtor Disputes Debt In Court

If the legal debt collection process goes to court and the debtor decides to dispute the debt through arbitration, then the case will have to be heard in its entirety. There are now extra factors that can impact the time it takes for you to get the money owed to you.

This again could take weeks or even months, depending on what evidence the debtor produces to present their case.

Find Out More

Still doubtful about the best way to recover your debt? Give us a call at 001733 964524 or click here, and one of our team will be happy to help.


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