After several years of consultation, the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims has been finalised and will be implemented on 1 October 2017.

The new Protocol applies to any debt claim by a business (including sole traders) against an individual (including sole traders). Creditors will be required to send debtors a “Letter of Claim” setting out prescribed information. Debtors will then have 30 days to respond to the “Letter of Claim”, using an enclosed form, which enables them to admit the sums owing, dispute them, or request further information and documents.

Previous drafts of the Protocol included a requirement for creditors to enclose supporting documentation with their letters of claim. Although this requirement has been removed in the final draft, the standard reply form suggests types of documents debtors may wish to request, such as copies of the credit agreement. Creditors are expected, under the Protocol, to supply any documents requested debtors within 30 days.