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Waughs Solicitors

serving east grinstead since 1968

Waughs Solicitors Dispute Resolution


We advise in relation to most "civil" disputes. These include:

- Contractual and commercial disputes
- Consumer disputes concerning the sale of goods and services
- Property disputes
- Debt recovery

Litigation can be a risky, time consuming and expensive business, so obtaining the right advice at the outset is important. We give realistic advice about your chances of success, balanced against the likely legal and other costs involved.

Where litigation can be avoided, we assist clients to enable them to take advantage of Alternative Dispute Resolution, including mediation, which can lead to a quick, effective settlement of disputes, without the need to go to Court.
We provide representation at any Court, Tribunal or mediation appointments.

We will discuss with you the various methods of funding a civil claim - funding from an insurance company and private funding.

We do not offer “no win/no fee” agreements. Neither do we offer fixed fees for debt collection work, or other disputes.

For family disputes over property these are usually dealt with under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996-frequently within the context of a breakdown of a cohabitation. Please see our comments on the Family Law/Relationship breakdown page. The venue for the property dispute  in these situations is within the Civil Procedure jurisdiction-usually the County Court but they are also pursued between family members who jointly own property not within a relationship, business owners or investment joint purchasers. We deal with these types of cases as well -usually Martin Groat-see charging rate details provided.

These cases can run to as much as £20,000 to £30,000 plus VAT and other fees if the issues are complex. Frequently the fees are less especially if an agreement can be negotiated early in the dispute. However cost savings can be achieved by way of mediation, round table meetings and other methods of settlement.

Turning to other disputes we deal with smaller matters,  advise on the Consumer Rights legislation and can assist you in starting matters in the Small Claims Court. An advice only basis may be as little as £300 plus VAT for initial advice and support.

We are asked to pursue larger debts for individuals where there is a prospect of success-but also advise on the issues of the practicality of recovery of money as enforcement procedures can be expensive-as well as slow. So on a significant debt one can incur £5000-6000 plus VAT-and incurring the costs of enforcing, for example a charging against a property so as to obtain a sale and subsequently have the debt repaid.

Given the wide-range of work for dispute resolution it is best to first discuss with us the particular circumstances.


The timescales in dispute resolution and key stages vary, depending on the type of claim that is being brought. For example, in a County Court or High Court contractual and commercial dispute, property dispute or debt recovery, the key stage is the work done leading up to commencing proceedings – the period of time this takes can vary considerably, depending on the nature of the matter, and its simplicity or complexity. So, it could be anything from say, 14 days, where there is a straightforward warning letter being sent followed by action being taken, but can progress to several months if, for example, there is significant pre-action preparation work to be carried out.

The next key stage is after proceedings have been commenced, and subsequently the defendant enters a defence. At this point, it will become apparent whether the matter is going to be contested, or we are progressing to obtain a judgment by default and then move on to enforcement. The defendant will, depending upon which particular form is being used, have only a limited period of time such as 14 days, to file a defence. If a defence is not filed, we can apply to obtain a Court judgment for you and the next stage will move onto enforcement – details of which we will discuss with you – as to how you can enforce the order you have obtained.

Enforcing a Court judgment can be carried out in a variety of ways and we will advise you at the appropriate time as to the different methods that are available, those that may be effective, and those that may be less effective, together with an estimate of the costs of those particular proceedings. There will usually be additional Court fees incurred (see disbursements) depending on the method of enforcement recommended. Those disbursements will be over and above what we charge for the fees in respect of the service we give.

There is no guarantee that your defendant will necessarily be in a position to meet the judgment that you obtain, and part of dispute resolution is trying to assess the ability of a potential defendant to meet the costs that you may incur and, of course, the sums of money that you may be seeking. Accordingly, giving the wide range of work of dispute resolution, it is best for you to discuss with us the particular circumstances.

The timescales for enforcement proceedings vary. Instructing, for example, a bailiff to act upon a warrant of execution can take several weeks depending upon the County Court bailiffs' workload, the area that the bailiff's cover and their ability to track down the defendant. The High Court enforcement officer is usually more efficient and moves more quickly but their charges are greater. The timing therefore varies depending on the type of remedy that you are seeking. It is however a clear key stage in a matter once judgment has been obtained.


Court fees, both in the County Court and the High Court, are calculated on a graduated scale. Full details can be found online on the HM Courts and Tribunals Service leaflet EX50. A claim of up to £300, and depending upon the method of issue, will normally be £35; with a claim that is greater than £10,000, but no more than £200,000, it is calculated on a percentage value (5/4½% depending upon the method of commencing the claim) of the claim value. For a matter with a value of greater than £200,000, the fee is £10,000. Civil Court fees, however, cover not only the issue fee, but also for steps taken during the proceedings. It also depends upon whether, in the County Court and High Court, you are dealing with a fast-track claim or a multi-track claim, as there is an additional hearing fee to be paid when a case is set down for hearing. If you are successful in your proceedings and obtain a Judgement – be that a Money Judgement, a Possession Order – and potentially enforcing an Order for Costs, you may then have to make an application to the Court to enforce the Order. For example, applying to obtain a Warrant of Control (instructing the bailiff), the costs of that can vary between £77 and £110.

Be aware:

1. That HMCTS will periodically vary these figures – and the new rates will apply from the date of variation which will affect an ongoing case;


2. As with any Legal Costs Order, which will include disbursements you have incurred, there is, of course, no guarantee the other party will be in a position to meet the sums you seek to recoup.

In a recent debt collection matter which involved a significant sum of monies owed, the disbursements we incurred were an initial Court issue fee of £1,746; upon obtaining Judgement a Charging Order fee to secure the Judgement against a property of £110; Land Registry search fees (£5.12 each) in respect of the property we intended to enforce against; and there will be a further fee for enforcing the Charging Order Absolute by way of an application for an Order for Sale.

At the other end of the scale, if you are commencing proceedings in the Small Claims Court for say £1,500, the fee would be £115 for the Court; and then further fees for enforcement on the assumption a Judgement is obtained. In the event there are applications to be made during the course of the proceedings for specific orders or remedies, the range of fees is £255 for an application or notice during conduct of the matter, together with additional fees for enforcing the Judgement – as indicated above, depending upon the value of the claim.

We are able to give a clearer indication when we know the amount of the remedy that is being sought, the type of County/High Court proceedings that have to be issued and the likely methods of enforcement.


For more information please telephone Martin Groat on 01342 323545 or email us at enquiries@waughs-solicitors.co.uk