HORNE ENGALL & FREEMAN LLP – Price transparency – Fees for debt recovery


In compliance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements, we confirm that our fees as set out below are considered by us to be fair and reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the matter.

Once the details of the matter are better known we can assess if any additional factors, such as urgency, the complexity and importance of the matter, and the skill required for its conduct, are likely to affect these fees.


Our team has over 30 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to debt recovery for example unpaid invoices, unpaid rent, money due under contract.

We have four members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Nicholas Jamison, Partner and Head of dispute resolution.

Hourly rates

Our charges for the time we spend on a matter are calculated using the following hourly rates which are assessed in 6 minute units:

Qualification Hourly rate charged
Partners £275 + VAT
Solicitors/Legal executives £220 + VAT
Trainees and paralegals £150 + VAT
Litigation assistants £150 + VAT

These prices are all plus VAT at the current rate of 20%.

VAT and disbursements are explained in more detail below.

Average fee ranges

These costs apply where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not needed. If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary.

At the beginning of the matter, we will provide an estimate of our likely charges and disbursements however as there are so many variables in a matter such as this it may become necessary to revise our estimate. Any estimate revision will be fully discussed with you before any additional work is undertaken.

There are certain factors that will increase the complexity and likely legal costs of a claim. For example, this could be complicated legal issues or documents, fraud or dishonesty, multiple persons that a claim is made against or conflicting information.

As a general guide our fees tend to fall within the following brackets:

Service Court fee (no VAT) Estimate
Debt up to £5,000 £35 to £205 £1000 to £4000 + VAT
Debt between £5,001 and £10,000 £455 £1000 to £4000 + VAT
Debt between £10,001 and £50,000 £5% of value of claim £3000 to £7000 + VAT
Debt over £50,000 £10,000 Minimum £7000 + VAT

These prices are all plus VAT at the current rate of 20%.

It is important to note that our fees do not include disbursement, and examples of other costs are listed below, but this is not exhaustive;

  1. Office copy documents from the Land Registry
  2. Tracing agents to locate parties and these can vary from £50 + VAT to hundreds of pounds
  3. Court fees are not included in our fees above
  4. If a barrister attends the court hearing, then their fees will be payable and this can be from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds
  5. Companies house documents or fees

What’s included in our services

Our fees include us liaising with you and taking your instructions on the matter which includes reviewing the debtor’s legal liability to pay you the debt based on the information and documentation provided by you. We will then discuss the debtor’s financial circumstances and the information we have on their ability to pay the debt owed to you.

We will then write a letter before claim and send this to debtor demanding payment and this will comply with the relevant court protocols.

If the debtor settles the debt, we will take payment and send funds to you. If the debtor does not pay the debt within the required timescales we will commence court proceedings.

Then, if the debtor does not respond to the court claim we will apply for judgement in your favour.

Once we have judgement, we will discuss the various options for enforcement with you and costs of each action.

Items to note

The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from the other party.

Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher bracket, with a higher cost.

The costs include the work involved with:

  1. Taking instructions.
  2. Reviewing any documentation.
  3. Carrying out appropriate investigations of the debtor.
  4. Sending a letter before action.
  5. Receiving any payment and sending it to you.
  6. Where no payment is received from the debtor our fee also includes drafting and issuing the claim and applying for judgment in default where no defence is filed by the debtor.
  7. Once judgment in default is granted, we will request payment from the debtor, receive any payment, and send it to you.

The costs quoted above do not include responding to any defence or appeal filed by the debtor or enforcement action of any judgment obtained.

We will ask you to make a payment on account of fees of £1000 at the beginning of the matter and at particular stages of the case.


Matters usually take 6 – 9 weeks from the time we are instructed to the time that payment is made, assuming no court action is necessary.

If when a claim is issued, or following judgment in default, the other side pays promptly then it is likely to take a total of 16 weeks.

If the claim is defended or there is an appeal against a judgment or an enforcement action is needed, the matter will take much longer to resolve.