Contents of pre-action letter and guidelines for drafting

Contents of pre-action letter and guidelines for drafting

Pre-action letter sent by lawyer or potential claimant

In India, a pre-action letter/legal notice is ordinarily a notice sent by a lawyer on behalf of his/her client. However, it is not mandatory for a person to send a legal notice through a lawyer. A person himself can send a legal notice on his/her accord without the assistance of a lawyer communicating its intention of initiating a legal action. However, it is advisable to hire a lawyer for this purpose in order to avoid making any mistake, especially in the matters where issuance of pre-action letter is mandatory. A lawyer with good drafting skills can collect information from you and send a notice on your behalf.

A pre-action letter/legal notice must be in writing and must include below mentioned details:

  • Name, description and residential address of the sender.
  • Name and address of the person against whom sender has grievances.
  • Material facts and grievances caused: A notice must consist the facts and grievances of the sender in points and paragraphs.
  • Summary of relief claimed/compensation: A notice must consist of an amount of claim or relief if any claimed against the defaulting party. It is also important to mention the law or reference under which the claim, compensation or relief is sought.
  • Reasonable time limit to be provided to the defaulting party to reply to the notice so issued.
  • Signature of lawyer and client is must or signature of the person who is sending the notice.
  • Supporting documents: It is not mandatory or practice to attach any document with the pre-action letter/ legal notice, however, it is advisable that in case of notice for recovery of dues or notice for dishonor of cheque, all the necessary documents should be attached to support your claim or relief sought.

Effectiveness of a pre-action letter
In India, a pre-action letter/notice is considered effective in avoiding the need of legal proceedings as it provides for a platform and a chance to both the parties to reach a consensus without taking the route of the Court proceedings.

It is a well-known fact that the process of litigation consumes lots of money and take long to resolve a dispute. This procedure of sending pre-action letter/notice gives a midways to both the parties to settle the dispute amicably and save their time and money.

Practical tips

Practical tips that should be keep in mind while issuing a legal notice in India:

  • It is advisable to approach a lawyer or a legal expert for this purpose in order to avoid committing any mistake. A lawyer with good skills of drafting can collect information from you and send a notice on your behalf.
  • The notice must be in writing and must be sent on the letterhead of the entity/ lawyer sending the same.
  • It must contain all the necessary details of both the parties along with the complete facts.
  • The notice must contain proper summary of relief claimed along with the supporting documents, if any.
  • All the necessary details relating to the names of people involved, their address, contact information, grievance caused, date and time when the grievance was caused, previous attempts of contacting the person or company for resolving the dispute, and any document or evidence in relation with the grievance.
  • The relief sought in money, kind or service from the person or company to whom the legal notice is being sent
  • The laws under which the relief is being sought or action to be taken from the receiver.
  • Issuer must specify a time limit for the receiver to reply to the notice.
  • It should be properly signed by the person sending the same.
  • The reply must be in writing and must be sent on the letterhead of the person along with the necessary details and facts of the issue.
  • Check the limitation period to reply to the notice.
  • Check the contractual obligation of the Claimant, if any.
  • It is advisable not to admit or accept any of the allegation made by the sender.
  • If the content in the notice is not relevant, then one can counter threat a claim or damaged against a sender.

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