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This procedure should take less than two months to get payment.
(Oh and by the way - try and get it in writing that he will not pay because he is going Ltd. When he goes bankrupt you can prove that he has deliberately been financially negligent. This means his bankrupcy takes 15 years instead of 12 months to complete.)
I almost feel like suing people indiscriminately for the most minor things, but my passport says British...
Give it a go. The defendant gets real court docs and has to reply or gets a judgement.
If he switches his business to an LTD company that does not absolve him of his personal debts. If he goes bankrupt in his personal name then as far as I know he cannot start a LTD company or be a director in one.
Bait him. Get him to accept in writing that he owes you money and that you can jolly well sod off. Then file your claim in the Small Claims Court. But, be warned, the small claims courts are full of officious, pompous sh*theads. If you don't attend the hearing they'll take it as a personal insult and may rule against you just because you didn't drop everything in the world to make a 5000 mile journey to attend their hearing.
If you appoint a solicitor to attend the hearing for you and you win the case he will have to pay or have a CCJ registered against him. This will make it difficult to impossible for him to get credit anywhere.