Debt recovery

Acting for publicly listed companies, government departments, local authorities and private clients, Wedlake Bell is a respected presence in the debt recovery space. The firm has been recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers.

All aspects of debt recovery can be dealt with at our London office, but most volume debt recovery is dealt with at our dedicated office in Essex, where we have a large team of experienced staff. Success is based upon staff experience, continued training/education and a highly developed litigation case management system, which has the agility to be configured to a client’s specific requirements, by way of bespoke workflows and reporting. Each reporting suite is created to a client’s specific requirements, from a daily data dump of all actions effected in relation to live matters (allowing the client, subject to resource, to create their own reporting in-house) to nuanced requests for reporting of specific actions. Whatever the requirement, it can be accommodated. All clients are provided online access to securely review their matters in real time.

Wedlake Bell works with and advises clients to ensure compliance with OFT guidelines and any statutory obligations the client may have. Operating a TCF policy and being subject to Solicitors Conduct Rules ensures minimum, if any complaints. Expertise in the area of compliance is essential in the current climate. Any action agreed with clients is subject of written compliance advice, if required. The need to protect the reputation of clients is of paramount importance to staff.

The outsourcing of debt recovery has traditionally been the preserve of Debt Collection Agencies but drawing on the skills of our teams in Essex and London, we are able to offer a ‘one stop solution’ and accept placement of large portfolios of consumer debt, both regulated (credit cards/loans etc) and unregulated (telecommunications/domestic bills etc). With integrated dialler ability, intelligent deployment of lettering suites and staff trained to engage with debtors pre-proceedings, the number of matters requiring court proceedings reduces dramatically, in all parties’ interests.

Lettering suites and the nature of dialling campaigns are agreed with clients prior to deployment. ‘Black box’ strategies do not exist and ‘standard’ lettering suites are not imposed. A ‘one size fits all’ attitude to strategy is a thing of the past. Clients are encouraged to discuss specific requirements and share any data intelligence that may be portfolio specific. Dedicated teams are assigned at client and portfolio level – ‘tribal knowledge’ and relationships enhance results. Debt recovery is a people based skill, enhanced by class leading systems deployed within a firm of solicitors with an excellent reputation.

Tracing facilities, account segmentation, economic property valuation and access to a large field force are just some of the value add options.

Defence or complex actions are escalated to appropriate staff with expertise in all forms of litigation, both County, High Court and beyond.

Bankruptcy and company winding up is dealt with by our insolvency team, which has vast experience and acts for the Insolvency Service, amongst others.

Our attitude to fees is flexible and dependent upon volume, nature of work and client specific requirements. Contingency fee structures are available via Conditional Fee Agreements and Legal Expense Insurance, as appropriate.

The current economic climate has created a challenging debt recovery environment. Clients need to differentiate themselves from other creditors. We can help to make the difference.

Wedlake Bell excels in undertaking debt recovery work with a nexus to the electricity and gas supply industry; this is Charles Robinson‘s sector specialism. Further reflective of the firm’s strengths in this space, it has won a significant number of debt recovery tenders from utility companies. Elsewhere, work for clients in the financial services sector (particularly in relation to consumer collections) is also a driver of activity. Frances Coulson and Graham McPhie co-head the department together with Robinson. Coulson combines her experience in all forms of debt matters with knowledge of commercial litigation, contentious insolvency, fraud and injunctive relief. McPhie has longstanding experience of all aspects of financial disputes and also doubles as a commercial litigator.

Legal 500, 2022

Good at identifying and utilising high-quality junior counsel to advance debt recovery claims in a cost-efficient and proportionate manner. They have excellent knowledge of the electricity and gas markets. They take a strategic view when considering the merits of a claim, including the risk that a loss may create an unhelpful precedent on a key issue with implications for future claims.

Legal 500, 2022

The team are especially experienced in debt recovery work in the electricity and gas supply sector. Their knowledge of the industry is very strong and has been built up over a number of years with some of the largest utilities in Britain. One of the consequences of this experience is that they are able to deal with cases in a cost-effective way. Charles Robinson is excellent: efficient, experienced and generally a good solicitor.

Legal 500, 2022