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‘In terms of approach, efficiency and general expertise’, Clarke Willmott LLP outmatches many of its competitors; according to some clients, ‘it is the benchmark against which all other debt recovery groups are compared’. The team handles salary overpayments and high-volume debt recovery and is also instructed in complex domestic and cross-border bespoke recoveries, including litigation. Working alongside the firm’s property litigation team, newly promoted partner Philip Roberts is acting for Celestial Management Company on defaulted rent recoveries from particularly difficult occupiers. Kathryn Quinton manages the team’s relationship with The Insolvency Service, which accounted for nearly 5,000 instructions in 2017, spanning income payment agreements, book debts and specialist recoveries. Technical director Stuart Hoysted oversees high-volume claims for a notable UK insurer, while Associate Karen Hellier and paralegal Kayleigh Linford are highly recommended. Additionally, the firm’s ‘online client-profiles allows clients to feel like they have complete control of their claims’. Other household-name clients include The Football Association (on behalf of Wembley National Stadium) and Viridor Waste Management. Jane Dunlop is another key figure.

Highly regarded in the South West for its banking and financial services work, TLT has an active secured recoveries team, which is regularly instructed by many of the UK’s best-known banks, such as The Royal Bank of Scotland. Headed by Graham Walters the secured recovery group regularly works alongside the firm’s specialist banking and financial services litigation team led by Jonathan Hoey. The department also supports a mortgage enforcement and lender sales group, which assists clients such as Lloyds Banking Group with litigation and enforcement of mortgage defaults and also handles the subsequent sale of repossessed properties. The department is becoming increasingly active in motor vehicle recoveries. Deborah Sheldon and Richard Hayllar are additional contacts in the department, and Richard Waller leads the wider banking and lender services group.

The team at DAC Beachcroft LLP specialises in the recovery of business-to-business debt on behalf of investment funds, insurers and corporates. Led by Giles Hindle, the debt recovery group is often instructed in cross-border mandates. Indeed, Christopher Stoate is involved in a multi-jurisdictional recovery claim for Puma Investments. Further, Hindle and Larissa Bayliss assisted a US law firm with the enforcement of a debt due to a client based in the UK. Hindle also advised Western Union on the recovery of debts due under international forward contracts. The team advises banks such as HSBC, as trustees, on the recovery of tenant portfolio debts and also provides ongoing debt recovery assistance to the Post Office, Imperial Tobacco and Zurich Insurance.

Michelmores LLP acts for government agencies and public bodies in relation to ongoing debt recoveries and also handles domestic and cross-border recovery and enforcement matters for corporate clients. As part of a large cross-border investigation, Simon Barnett and Sara Chisholm-Batten advised the Legal Aid Agency on a multimillion-pound action to recover monies paid to Blavo & Co for certain legal aid claims that could not be substantiated. Chisholm-Batten also assisted a multi-national satellite telecoms company with the enforcement and settlement of various cross-border claims relating to multimillion-dollar contractual debts. Tim Richards leads the commercial litigation team and oversees contested debt proceedings. Associates Bill Duncan and Ellen Yeates are active figures in the department.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) has strength in insolvency litigation and debt recovery claims and has won a number of new clients and panel appointments in 2017. Led by Ed Husband, the team was appointed to provide certain debt recovery services to The Bar Council, which comprises all members of the English Bar, as well as barristers chambers in England and Wales. Tabitha Cave focuses on recovery matters in the education sector and assists various schools and nurseries with school fee collections. The team is also active in the energy sector, and Dee Kundi provides ongoing support to a corporate energy supplier in relation to its collection of historical debts. Additionally, the team has seen increased instructions from private-sector corporates and has also invested heavily in its 24-hour digital debt recovery system.

From pre-claim actions through to enforcement, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides comprehensive debt recovery advice to its large national and FTSE corporate clients. Gareth Kagan leads the debt recovery group and advises a pensions investor on a wide range of overpayment debt collections. Kagan also acted alongside regulatory lawyer Jon Cooper in connection with a case concerning the recovery of costs under the control of major accident hazards regulations. Stephen Dilley assists clients in the financial services sector with various seven-figure asset recovery matters. B&Q, British Gas, LV= and The Agricultural Mortgage Company are among the department’s major corporate clients.

Ashfords LLP has ‘an impressive insolvency team, which puts it in a particularly good position to enforce debts through insolvency proceedings’. Acting for banks, professional services firms, insolvency practitioners, local authorities and a range of SMEs, the department is headed by the ‘professional and friendly’ legal director Katie Farmer, who specialises in insolvency and recoveries from foreign jurisdictions. Farmer was recently instructed by a creditor to obtain and serve a bankruptcy order to an imprisoned debtor concerning a six-figure sum owed to the client. Solicitor Gruffydd Davies advised a Belgian law firm on the enforcement options for Belgian judgments in favour of Belgian companies against Libyan bank-assets located in England and Wales. The team has also handled bankruptcy and recovery proceedings for a large London borough.

With particular expertise in consumer credit law, Lester Aldridge LLP is regularly instructed by captive finance companies to assist with cross-border motor vehicle asset recoveries, which often include regulatory investigations and additional parallel claims, such as fraud or breach of contract. For example, group head Ann Lloyd acted for a captive motor finance company in connection with a six-figure recovery involving assets based in Tenerife and the Spanish mainland. Additionally, Danielle Montezuma assisted a high-street bank with the realisation of assets subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act in order to enforce a security agreement. Motor finance clients include Volkswagen Financial Services and Toyota Financial Services.

The debt recovery group at Thrings LLP sits within the wider disputes group and handles domestic and cross-border contested recoveries, from pre-action stage through to enforcement. Amanda Richardson and Ramona Derbyshire are key contacts in the team. Richardson has nearly three decades of experience in the debt recovery industry and serves as the firm’s dedicated recoveries manager, while Derbyshire has extensive litigation experience. The team has maintained a number of relevant panel appointments, which includes Honda Finance Europe, The Bar Council of England & Wales, and Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.

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