Our lawyers at Aitken Whyte Lawyers have substantial experience in providing efficient and useful advice to clients to assist them to recover money owing in Brisbane and South East Queensland. All debt needs to be scrutinised, assessed and an action plan started to ensure you are not working without appropriate reward. Aitken Whyte Lawyers in Brisbane can assist you with implementing such an action plan.
Many small businesses go under due to poor debt handling practices. Maintaining cash flow, ensuring your viability and ensuring money is coming in when due to you is why you are in business and how you stay in business. It has never been more relevant for businesses to be completely aware of how debt can impact on their enterprise. We only need to look at the TV and papers as to what is happening in the global economy to see the impact that debt has had on the world and the disastrous affect resulting to people’s financial wellbeing.
A letter of demand does not need to be a work of art. It simply needs to get across the details of the amount being claimed with sufficient certainty that the person who receives it is in no doubt as to the amount and the details of the claim and where and when it is to be paid. This is an example of a letter of demand you can use to send to your debtors. If the debtor is a company, then a statutory demand, being a formal notice under the Corporations Act can be a very effective tool to recover unpaid money. The reason for this is that if the company fails to pay within 21 days or take action to dispute the debt, it is deemed to have committed and act of insolvency and can be wound up.
If you have called your debtor and sent numerous reminders, which most of you will do, then call us to send a “solicitors' letter” for you. Quite often a letter from a lawyer will show that you are serious about recovering the money owed to you and will do the trick, but if that proves unsuccessful, then we can start court proceedings for you to recover what is rightfully yours.
We can structure economic recovery strategies with you and will engage and advise you in every step of the process from starting the proceedings, serving the debtor, attending to any required interim court procedures, attending mediations and the trial to enforcing any money judgment you receive. Enforcement itself could include insolvency proceedings such as applying to wind up a company, bankruptcy proceedings or selling up a debtor’s property to pay you for your debt, legal costs and interest.
As with all the services we provide, we provide estimates before we undertake any work which sets out how we charge for any particular matter and how much can be expected to be paid, and just as importantly, how much you can get back if you are ultimately successful in your action.
If all else has failed, then court proceedings can be taken to recover money. If the amount is less than $50,000, then the action is taken in the Magistrates' Court. For higher amounts up to $250,000, proceedings start in the District Court and for large sums, in the Supreme Court. If an amount claimed is under $7,500 then an action for a small debt can be started in the Magistrates' Court that provides simplified procedures and quick and cheap resolutions for parties without the right for legal representation. For higher amounts, we would recommend you speak to us about starting court proceedings for you in the Magistrates' Court and to talk about the processes and time frames involved.
If you trade as a company, and you have been served with a statutory demand by an entity claiming that you owe them money, then you must act quickly. You only have 21 days from the date you are served with the demand to file and serve an application and supporting documents in the Supreme Court to have the statutory demand set aside, if you dispute the debt, part of it or have a cross claim. If you don’t dispute the debt, then payment needs to be made within that period of time (21 days), otherwise your company will be deemed to have committed an act of insolvency and liable to be wound up. If winding up proceedings are later taken against your company, the fact you may dispute the debt generally can't be raised as a defence. For an overview see the process to set aside a demand. This is intended to be general information only and your particular circumstances need to be considered by a lawyer before full advice can be given. We provide full services including preparing and serving statutory demands and also applying to the Supreme Court to set aside demands if you have been wrongly served with one.