Legal Notice in India

What would you if someone buys a commodity from your shop and does not pay you? You will raise an alarm and tell him to pay. Chances are he will pay you money. What if, he places an order over phone or via message or WhatsApp and after delivery of goods, refuses to pay? You will file a case for recovery of money. But before that you will issue a legal notice to resolve matter without going to court, because to approach court for recovery of a small amount consumes more time and resources. The legal notice acts as a reminder to other party about his intentional or unintentional wrong doing and serves an opportunity to resolve issues and conflicts cordially.

There is no mandate in law that a Legal Notice shall be sent through an advocate only. An aggrieved person can also send a notice on its own accord. There is no specific provision in CPC to issue legal notice only in civil cases. However, if you intend to initiate a civil suit against the any person or legal entity, you have to serve a legal notice first, In case you want to file case against any government agency than legal notice shall be served to the Government beforehand under Section 80 of the CPC and only thereafter you can file a civil suit against the Government. But, in practicality, it is seen that Advocates serve legal notice before the filing of all the civil cases to bring it to the knowledge of the opposite party that the sender of notice is making the last effort to settle the matter.

In specific cases, such as Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, makes it mandatory to issue legal notice within 30 days from the date of bouncing of cheque. After delivery of legal notice, opposite party is required to make the payment within 15 days from the date of delivery failing which one can initiate legal action and file complaint within 30 days after expiry of 15 days.

###Important Points to keep in mind while drafting a Legal Notice:

Extreme care is taken regarding the choice of words and language used, and the measures of caution about not admitting any fact that may later be denied to you in a court of law. Once a legal notice is dispatched, you cannot make any changes in it. Neither can you make any statement contradictory to what you have already stated in the notice.

Generally, the notice is sent on a plain paper or on the letterhead of the lawyer.

For drafting a good legal notice, one must keep below points in Mind:

1) Ascertain all the past and previous communications and related proofs that establish your claim against the person you want to send the legal notice .

2) Before drafting the notice create a basic step by step storyline depicting the clear facts related to damage caused, material related to transactions, dates, memos etc.

3) Strategize the remedy you look forward to and set a time limit for the other party to respond.

4) Clearly state the situation of in event the proposed solution or desired action is not taken by the other party.

5) The notice is shall duly signed and must be sent through appropriate channel. The notices are majorly sent through via registered post or courier, and the acknowledgement receipt is kept safe for future reference and legal records. Usually, a copy of the notice is retained by the lawyer.

6) The expectation is that after the notice is received by the other party, they will reply back. In case, opposite party does not revert or refuse to take any action upon your demands, you can instruct your lawyer to knock the doors of the Court to settle your claims.

7) In most of the cases, opposite party either individual or a company agrees to sit across a table and negotiate or both the parties try to settle the matter without going to Court. To serve a legal notice is not mandatory but it is requirement of today to avoid costly litigation.

As legal notice is the first and most important step to pursue the legal action, hence each of the line in notice shall be carefully drafted to avoid any inconvenience later on.

Note: In case you are hiring Advocate for drafting the legal notice, please do not hide any fact so as to ascertain proper remedy and cause of action, sometimes we tend to think that certain things are immaterial, however that may be legally crucial to define the strategy and possible remedy.