How to recover debt for a business owner

Morton Fraser Partner Nicola Ross
Nicola Ross
Morton Fraser Partner & Solicitor Advocate Richard McMeeken
Richard McMeeken
Partner & Solicitor Advocate
17 January 2022
Case Study

The below scenario is fictional and is intended to provide an example of the type of matter where our success fee option, only charging a fee if money is recovered, provides an alternative to funding a commercial litigation claim.

We acted for a timber merchant who was having a problem getting paid by a previously good customer. The timber merchant told the customer that no more timber would be supplied until the account was cleared. In response, the customer said that there were problems with the quality of the timber and that's why they were withholding payment. This issue hadn't been raised before. 


  • the timber merchant was worried about legal fees, having been involved in an expensive court action before, and didn't want their cashflow tied up in paying solicitors. 
  • by agreeing to a 30% success fee (payable only in the event of a financial recovery from the other side), the timber company were able to avoid up-front legal fees which meant they had a much lower financial risk than a traditional "pay as you go" fee model.
  • the customer knew that the case was funded to conclusion so knew the timber merchant would go all the way to a full hearing if they needed to.  This was a factor which influenced settlement.


This case demonstrates that our menu of feeing options gives our clients the ability to proceed with legal action in the way that makes best financial sense for them. In this instance, the client was nervous about incurring expensive legal bills and didn't want to have thousands of pounds tied up in litigation, so the success fee agreement meant that they could seek payment from their customer at a greatly reduced financial risk to them. The customer was made aware that the timber merchant's case was funded all the way so they knew that they could end up with a full court hearing and an expensive legal bill. This resulted in a speedier settlement than would have been the case had the timber merchant just continued to use their own credit control process rather than put the case into the hands of our expert commercial litigation team.


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