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In 2016 I lent a friend of mine R 48000.00.

Now; I am battling to get the money back!

What can I do?

borrowing money from family quote 1000

“Never a borrower or a lender be” is a well-known saying and the gist of a lesson to be learnt from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice.

Alas, in the modern world there are many occasions when we lend money to a family member or even to a friend and then have difficulty getting the loan repaid in whole or in part.

This happens even when we have taken the precaution of getting the borrower to sign an acknowledgement of debt (AOD) or some sort of promissory note (PN).

So what can we do in the event that this happens to you?

Here are our guidelines:

  1. It is always best to get professional help when you want to sue someone; so that the legal professional can explain and advice on the legal process needed to get your money back.
  2. It is always best if you have proof of the loan in writing either with an AOD or a PN; but even if the agreement was not in writing you must try and find some proof of the fact that you paid the borrower eg bank statements, deposit slips, receipts etc.
  3. The first step of the legal process is to place the debtor “in mora”. This is achieved via a formal letter of demand; demanding that he/she repay the loan by a certain date.
  4. If the debtor fails to pay in terms of the letter of demand; one can then sue him/her.
  5. The suit is by means of a summons issued out of the court having jurisdiction and is served on the debtor by the sheriff of the court.
  6. If the summons is served on the debtor and he fails to pay or respond to the summons; you may apply to the court for a default judgement.
  7. If he/she defends the summons; you may be able to apply for a summary judgment.
  8. The entire process is a formal legal process and must be done properly, professionally and expeditiously.
  9. Get advice and help and do not try to do it all on your own. That seldom ends well.
  10. Follow the professional legal advice obtained by you.

The above may sound simple; but is a formal legal process requiring accurate allegations, court documentation, correct advice regarding the various processes involved; and must be executed properly, correctly and professionally.

We reiterate that if you are wanting to sue someone for money owed to you; it is always best to first get proper, professional legal advice before you take this step in your life.

If you have a query regarding a debt owed to you; please contact us at The Legal Advice Office direct and/or our legal consultant, Hugh, as soon as possible for obtaining proper, professional legal advice.

Hugh’s telephone numbers are 082-0932304 (preferred) or 028-3162832, where you can leave a message if he is unavailable. You can also send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or clicking the BUTTON on the right side of this page. Hugh was previously a practising litigation attorney and has 20 years practical experience in the field.

Again; please visit our website if you need any help, legal advice or legal services at or send anThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view one of our email addresses; either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will revert within 48 hours.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.


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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (0) 82 093 2304