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England is the closest ally, emotionally, commercially, financially, and geo-politically, to the United States. As it is often said: we are separated by a common language. It is one of the most important trading partners of the United States. From a commercial collection and recovery standpoint, the two countries could not be more different.

This is really important for business people to understand. The most important difference is that England maintains the medieval separation of the law practice, between the solicitor, and the barrister: originally, and until quite recently, a solicitor could advise the client, marshal the facts, write a demand letter, but not file suit to collect. Appearances in court were limited to the barristers. From a practical standpoint, it meant that the claimant had double expense.

Add to this, the situation caused by the British tradition of “winner take all”: the loser in any case not only has to pay the damages, but in addition must reimburse the winner’s costs of counsel: solicitor & barrister. This has been ameliorated somewhat by recent statutes: solicitors now can file suit in the lower courts, but everything else remains the same: if you are an out of country plaintiff, it will be necessary to post a security bond or cash in amounts sufficient to reimburse the defendant their legal costs, before you even get into the“guts” of the case.

In closing, England is a lovely country to visit, a staunch ally of the USA, full of very nice people. Lending money unsecured, or shipping goods on open account, should not be done without considering these downsides. We are indeed separated by a common language.

“Winner take all.”