Starting a debt claim—a practical guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Starting a debt claim—a practical guide
  • Debt claim—initial steps
  • Governing law and jurisdiction
  • Limitation
  • Appropriate method of resolving the dispute
  • Compliance with the relevant pre-action requirements
  • Assigned debts
  • Debt breathing space
  • Other considerations
  • Commencing proceedings
  • More...

Starting a debt claim—a practical guide

This Practice Note provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the CPR. Depending on the court in which your matter is proceeding, you may also need to be mindful of additional provisions—see further below.

This Practice Note on starting a debt claim provides guidance on the matters that you should consider both before and after issuing a simple contractual debt claim. For guidance on what is meant by a ‘simple contractual debt claim’ in this context, see Practice Note: Debt claims.

For further guidance on debt claims, see the following:

  1. Practice Note: Discharging a contractual debt

  2. Starting a contractual debt claim—checklist

For more general guidance on starting claims, see: Starting a claim or counterclaim—overview.

Debt claim—initial steps

When approached by a creditor in respect of a contractual debt claim, you should consider the following matters before initiating proceedings.

Governing law and jurisdiction

Is the contract pursuant to which the debt is claimed governed by the law of England & Wales and subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of England & Wales? Normally, this is expressly stated in the contract. If it is not, you will need to consider what applicable law and jurisdiction will apply to the contract. For guidance, see Practice Notes: Understanding applicable law—a guide for dispute resolution practitioners and Understanding jurisdiction—a guide for Dispute Resolution practitioners.


If you

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