Q. I lent my “friend” a large amount of money about four years ago because he fell into a great amount of debt and I felt bad for him. He was supposed to pay me back in monthly instalments, however I still haven’t received a penny. He is dodging my calls and my repeated requests for the money back. I know he can afford it because he has just received a large inheritance. Do I just have to write this money off?
A. Not at all. If you made it clear at the outset that this money was only meant to be a loan and not a gift you are able to recover it as a debt. As you lent the money four years ago you are within the six year limitation period for bringing a claim in the County Courts.
Firstly, you will need to make a formal request, in writing, for the money owed and then give a timescale for a response. If you receive no response within the timescale, or the borrower denies that they owe the money, then you can issue proceedings in the courts.
A hearing will take place to establish whether or not the money is owed and, if the judge finds in your favour, an Order compelling the borrower to pay the money back will be made. If the borrower refuses to engage in the Court Proceedings, the Court may make judgement in default, meaning that an Order will be granted in the borrower’s absence.
As we are dealing with a large amount of money here, I suggest that you seek the advice of a lawyer who can draft the relevant documents, commence the proceedings and provide you with strong advice throughout.