The Law Centre provides specialist debt advice and assists individuals with their debts.

We can provide:

  • Help with considering whether you could get more money from benefits or other sources
  • Advice on whether you should accept or dispute liability for debts
  • A full financial review to ensure that any proposals are realistic
  • Help to negotiate with creditors

In appropriate cases we may be able to provide representation to bring or defend County Court or High Court proceedings.

What we do

We can assist with the following issues:

  • Multiple debts
  • Single debts
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Credit Agreements
  • Rent arrears
  • Magistrates Court fines
  • Disputed debts
  • Council Tax debts
  • Fuel debts
  • Debt Relief Orders

Credit debts

Debts which involve credit/borrowing money are generally regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA has stated that creditors should not pressurise you to make payments you cannot afford, and they should treat you fairly and with due consideration to your circumstances i.e., considering freezing charges and interest and/or accepting a reasonable offer of payment. 

You can learn more about credit debts on our information sheet.

Council Tax debts

When you have not paid an instalment of council tax on the date it is due, your local authority must issue a reminder, asking for payment within seven days.

If you fail to pay within this period, you lose the right to pay by instalments and a full year's council tax becomes payable. If you don't pay this within the next seven days, your local authority can then ask the Magistrates’ Court to issue a Liability Order (LO) which will allow them to take further action to collect the debt.  

Find out what enforcement action the Council can take once they have obtained an LO here.

Debt Relief Orders (DROs)

A DRO is a form of insolvency that clears most debts. Once an application is submitted your creditors cannot take any further action against you. There is no longer any fee in order to apply for a DRO.

A DRO must be submitted by an approved debt advisor on your behalf. 

You can find out if you are eligible for a DRO, and the advantages and disadvantages of them, here.

Standard Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a government scheme that puts your debts on hold for up to 60 days. It gives you legal protection from creditor action whilst you are seeking debt advice and finding an appropriate debt solution. It does not write-off your debts and creditors can resume enforcement and recovery action once the moratorium ends.  

You can only access it through a debt adviser. It is free to apply, and you can only have it once a year. 

Find out if you are eligible for breathing space, and the advantages and disadvantages, here.


In most cases, Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) only have a right of peaceful entry and you do not have to let them into your home. This applies to Enforcement Agents collecting council tax arrears, County Court Judgements, and Penalty Charge Notices. They are allowed to come into your property through an unlocked door. You should keep all the doors to your property locked if there is a risk an Enforcement Agent may visit (unless they have previously secured goods).

In some cases, bailiffs will have the right to use reasonable force to gain entry, for example if they are collecting Magistrate Court fines. This power, however, is rarely used. Please contact us immediately if a bailiff threatens to force entry. 

You can find out more about bailiffs here.

County Court Action

Most creditors should follow the Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) for Debt Claims and send a Letter Before Claim/Letter of Claim with a view of trying to settle the issue without going to court. You will normally have 30 days from the date at the top of the letter from the business to respond.

If the creditor does not get your Reply Form within 30 days, it could take you to court.

Find out what will happen if your creditor takes you to court here.

What we do not do

  • We cannot advise on business debts (if you are still trading).
  • We cannot advise on disputes with the Child Support Agency.

What to bring to your appointment

In order for your adviser to be able to help you as much as possible, and for you to get the most out of your appointment, it is important that you bring the necessary documents.