Legal Advice - Commercial Law/Licensing/Solicitors Regulatory Rules

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Experience Level: Expert
We are developing an innovative web-based debt recovery service for consumers and businesses. The business model emulates aspects of a similar service being offered in the divorce market. Essentially we will be offering a managed uncontested debt recovery service. The technology behind the web-based Case Management System is highly advanced - this is how it works:

a. Clients add brief details of their debt and debtors information
b. Clients use the system to manage the recovery of their debts online, including a highly advanced settings section which enables users to set out how debts are recovered, interest type recovered etc.. All documents including collection letters, letter of claim and court forms are fully automated. Telephone collection is also offered as part of the debt collection service.
c. Clients are charged at three points - debt collection, letter of claim, and legal debt recovery.

Debt Collection (15 or 22-day service). We send out one low and one high impact collection letter + telephone collection. All letters are posted out for clients on our National Recovery Centre letter head. Note that debtors pay clients directly, so there is no consumer credit licensing requirement.

Letter of Claim - send out to debtors on our letter head

Claim Form/Request for Judgment/Warrant - signed by clients online using uploaded replica signature. We send these to court on behalf of clients. Clients pay any court fees payable online to us, and we pay the court fees to the court on their behalf. Legal Debt Recovery is initated in Clients own name.

1. We provide clients with documents and advice on the completion of documents required to initiate debt recovery proceedings in England and Wales.
2. We do not supply actual or general legal advice in such proceedings and no such legal advice should be implied in the use of this service.
3. We do not accept liability or responsibility for any additional advice that clients seek in conjunction with their documentation and/or advice.
4. We do not accept any liability in relation to any actual proceedings issued by clients whether divorce proceedings or ancillary relief proceedings.
5. We provide documentation on the understanding that clients are acting in person in relation to proceedings.
6. We provide documentation for uncontested debt recovery in England and Wales only.
7. Documents and advice contained on our web site are not made available for any other purpose.

We seek advice on the following:

1. Our legal position regarding the provision of telephone and email support to clients, and any other issues which need to be handled with care in avoiding contravention of relevant legislation. Telephone support will be for technical problems but also advice on the legal process. How far can we go in the provision of legal advice, bearing in mind that this advice will not be provided by a solicitor.
2. The legal implications of taking payment for court fees online and paying these to court by cheque on behalf of clients (i.e. when issuing claim and for warrant stages).
3. The courts approach to this.
4. Any Consumer Credit Act registration requirements. Remember that we do not receive payment from debtors, debtors pay customers direct. The issue here is that clients will be paying their court fees to us which we then use to pay the court fees to court on their behalf.
5. The legality of sending a Letter of Claim on our own letterhead, given that we are not a solicitors firm.
6. Advice as to any other issues, regulations and laws we should bear in mind in running the business.

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