I am owed money, what do I do?

One of the most common reasons why people have disputes is because someone owes someone else money. Everyone works hard for their money and when you are owed money by someone who is refusing or failing to pay you, it is particularly distressing and can cause various problems, either personally or for a business.

Perhaps you or your company entered into an agreement for the provision of services, and you have not been paid what you believe you are owed, or perhaps you lent someone some money and they agreed to pay you back, but have not yet done so. Whether you are owed money as a company, or personally, there are usually methods by which you can try and recover these sums.

One of the things that needs to be considered very early on in the process is what is the likelihood that the person who owes you the money will be able to pay you. Any advisor will tell you not to throw good money after bad, as it can be costly to try and recover monies owed to you, and if at the end of the day there are no funds available to pay to you, what will you have achieved?

Of course, just because the person who owes you money tells you they don’t have any to pay you or appears on the face of it not to have any, this is not always the case.

The first step will always be to demonstrate, with evidence, that you are owed the money. Whether it is a breached agreement, an email confirming payment or a bank statement showing monies paid across, it will be very important to be able to show that the monies are in fact owed to you, should the matter ever find itself before a Court.

It will also be important to consider how much you are actually owed. Whilst your legal adviser will try to assist you, sometimes based on the sum that you are owed, it can be disproportionate to pay solicitors to recover the money for you. If you are successful in recovering the sum through the Courts, then you would ideally expect to receive your legal costs, however this is not always the case, and you may not recover the entirety of your costs.

Bearing in mind the above considerations, the following are the various methods by which you could seek to recover monies owed to you: –

  1. Serve a Statutory Demand on the owing party – this step should only be taken if the debt is not disputed by the owing party. To issue a Statutory Demand where there is a dispute about the sums owed could be considered to be an abuse of process. If a Statutory Demand is served, and the owing party does not either seek to set aside the Demand, or does not pay it within a limited period of time, then you can seek to wind up the company or make the individual bankrupt.


  1. Issue a money claim against the owing party (company or individual). There are several methods by which this could be done, depending on the level of the debt.

Another consideration must be the limitation period. You are only entitled to bring a claim for the unpaid sums within 6 years of the breach of the agreement, if the claim is for a breach of contract. If you attempt to bring a claim against a party outside of any relevant limitation period, your claim will be disallowed.

If you are successful in bringing a claim, and getting a money judgment against the owing party, then there are several methods by which you can try and secure your monies.

For further discussion about how, when and whether you can bring a claim for recovery of monies owed to you, speak with our Litigation Team or contact cboyce@meaby.co.uk.