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Taking Legal Action | How an English Company Can Sue a Business Customer in Scotland for an Outstanding Invoice

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Introduction | Resolving outstanding invoices can sometimes require legal action, particularly when communication and negotiation fail to provide a resolution. In this blog post, we will explore the process of how an English company can sue a business customer in Scotland for an outstanding invoice. We will outline the key steps involved in this situation and offer guidance to help you navigate the legal process effectively.

  1. Communication and Mediation |

    Before resorting to legal action, it is crucial to make efforts in communication and mediation with the business customer in Scotland. Engage with them through various channels, such as phone, email, or written correspondence, to discuss the outstanding invoice and explore potential resolutions. Open dialogue and negotiation may lead to an amicable settlement, saving both parties time, effort, and legal costs.
  2. Contractual Agreement |

    Review the contractual agreement or terms and conditions established between your English company and the business customer in Scotland. Ensure that the agreement includes relevant information regarding payment terms, interest charges, and any applicable late payment penalties. A clear and well-documented agreement strengthens your position when pursuing legal action.
  3. Seeking Legal Advice |

    If communication and negotiation fail to resolve the issue, seeking legal advice is crucial.  You can consult with our sister legal team in Shergroup Legal who are experienced in commercial law and cross-border disputes. They can provide guidance on preparing a claim to be served on your customer in Scotland, ensuring that you have a solid legal strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.
  4. Jurisdiction and Legal System |

    Determining the appropriate jurisdiction for initiating legal action is essential. In this case, as the English company, you will file your claim in the English courts, following the applicable laws and regulations. However, it is important to understand the legal implications, as Scotland has its own distinct legal system. Considerations specific to cross-border disputes may come into play although we will help you navigate the system and set up a strategy for being able to recover against customers based in Scotland more easily. 
  5. Court Proceedings |

    Once you have decided to proceed with legal action, your legal team will assist you in preparing a formal “Letter Before Action.” This document outlines the dispute’s specifics and desired outcome and serves as the initial step in commencing court proceedings. It provides the business customer in Scotland an opportunity to respond and potentially settle the matter before it escalates further.
  6. Litigation Process |

    If the business customer in Scotland fails to respond or rejects your claim, the next step is commencing court proceedings.  We will work you through our legal colleagues to gather all the necessary information, complete the required court forms, and provide supporting evidence. These documents will be filed with the appropriate English court and served to the business customer in Scotland.
  7. Enforcing a Judgment |

    If the English court rules in your favour and issues a judgment against the business customer in Scotland, enforcing it becomes the logical next step.

Enforcing a judgment in Scotland may require specific considerations due to jurisdictional differences.  By talking to our legal partners in Scotland, including solicitors and Sheriff’s Officers, we will work with you to identify the best options  for enforcing the judgment through the Scottish legal system, ensuring the recovery of the outstanding debt. 

Summing Up | Taking legal action should always be considered a last resort when attempting to resolve disputes over outstanding invoices. However, if all other avenues have been exhausted, suing a business customer in Scotland as an English company is possible.

By following the steps outlined in this blog post and seeking advice from legal professionals experienced in cross-border disputes, we can help you navigate the process effectively, maximizing your chances of recovering the outstanding invoice amount.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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