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The first thing you should do when someone owes you money is to speak to them to find out why they haven’t paid. After all they may have simply overlooked it. If they’re struggling to pay you back, you may be able to negotiate some kind of payment arrangement which keeps the relationship amicable.
To start court proceedings a solicitor will file a Statement of Claim. If someone serves you with one of these, you shouldn’t ignore it. If you do, the creditor can apply to the court for a judgment against you. You usually have 28 days to take action after someone serves a Statement of Claim on you.
You can send a debtor a letter of demand to allege that they owe a debt and advise that if it’s not paid within a certain period of time (usually 14 days), you’ll begin legal action. If you receive a letter of demand you should pay your debt as soon as you can, to avoid also being charged interest and legal costs.