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Human conflicts are inevitable. Sometimes the conflicts end up in the courtroom, but before that, you may inform them about initiating legal proceedings against them via a Legal Notice. There may be occasions when a person may contemplate taking legal action against a person or an entity because of the conflict. These conflicts may pertain to the property dispute, consumer complaint, divorce, eviction, etc. The first stage of legal proceedings is sending a legal notice. In this article, we shall have a clear understanding of the meaning, procedure, and reasons for sending legal notices.
Legal Notices are a formally written document which is sent by the aggrieved party, that party could be a person or an entity. It is sent to warn the recipient concerning something that has caused a disadvantage to the sender due to the actions or omissions of the recipient. A legal notice contains the facts and notifies the recipient about a possible court case, if the grievance of the sender is not resolved.
A legal notice may be sent to an individual or an institution informing them about the reason why a legal action could be initiated against them. The party who receives the notice is given enough time to respond to that notice. It serves as a final warning to the receiver if not adhered to may lead to a formal proceeding in court.
There may be some circumstances where you are required to send legal notices in order to resolve the matter. It has some important aspects that help in resolving a matter. A legal notice may be served as a warning that enumerates the intention of the sender to initiate a legal proceeding against the recipient for resolving a matter. It may compel the other party to send its response in no time to ensure that the recipient doesn’t have to circle the court.
A legal notice may also provide the opportunity to the recipient of the notice to cordially resolve the issue rather than taking the whole matter to court. The legal notice allows a person to describe his or her grievance with the assistance of a lawyer. The importance of the legal notice can also be deduced from the fact that it may serve as a reminder to the recipient concerning the act that might have caused a problem to the sender, either intentionally or unintentionally.
There is a variety of reasons when a person may send legal notices. A few of those are discussed below.
Legal notices can be sent in disputes related to property like delayed delivery of the possession by the builder, mortgage, tenant eviction, partition of the family property, etc.
In case an employer terminates the employee, deprives them of their salaries, or violates the rights of the employees, then the employee can choose to send a legal notice to the employer.
In case an employee violates HR policies, is complained against a charge for sexual harassment at the workplace, or violates or breaches the employment contract, then a legal notice can be issued.
In case there is a dishonor of cheque under the Negotiable Instruments Act, then the aggrieved party can send a legal notice to the person who has issued the cheque for the recovery of the money.
It is important to know that the debt recovery process begins by sending a legal notice to the defaulters. An aggrieved can send a legal notice to recover money in case there is a default in loan.
A consumer can send a legal notice if there is a defect in the product or service provided, and the same can be asked to be fixed or replaced.
A person may send a legal notice in case of personal disputes such as divorce, child custody, maintenance, etc.
There are several other incidents where legal notices can be of supreme value. It works as a tool to save time and money, and further may facilitate alternate means of settlement of disputes like mediation, conciliation, etc.
Read, More: Format of Legal Notice for Poor Internet Services.
A Legal Notice should contain all the essential information. It is a part of civil cases wherein the parties to a dispute may settle the cases outside the court, but that is not possible with criminal cases. The prime object of sending the legal notice is to notify about the grievance and seek the remedy to it. Therefore the notice must contain all the essential information.
A legal notice consists of the name and address of the sender. It shall further explain the cause of action, which means why the legal notice is being sent. It shall state the fact and the relief sought by the sender. The facts specified in the notice must be accurate and correct; otherwise, the lawsuit may be dismissed. It shall further enlist the legal basis for such relief. The relief mentioned in the notice allows the recipient an opportunity to settle the matter outside the court, thereby saving time and money. The notice shall mention the provision of law under which the sender can take action against the recipient. The notice shall be signed and stamped by the advocate who is sending it.
Under section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, serving a legal notice before the filing of a suit is mandatory if the opposite party is a Government or a public officer. However, often it is noticed that lawyers practically send a legal notice before the institution of civil cases. It is critical to know that it is not necessary to send a legal notice in all civil cases except when it comes to filing a suit against a government or a public officer; however, mostly, it is sent with a view to initiate a lawsuit.
The legal notices may be sent to bring to the notice of the opposite party that by sending the legal notice, the sender is looking to make the last bit effort to settle the matter and it also provides credibility to the notice of the sender as it clearly enumerates the liabilities of the recipient.
The filing of a legal notice is an extremely crucial step; therefore, drafting it in a casual manner may cost you big time. Such notices hold legal importance; therefore, one must be careful with respect to the words used and facts made because once a notice is sent with information, then it cannot be amended, and it shall be treated as the legal stand of the sender. The process of filing Legal Notices is mentioned in detail below.
Look for an advocate who has got good drafting skills. The notice must be addressed against the opposite party. Commonly a legal notice is sent in the English language.
Discuss the information related to the parties in detail to your advocate explaining the names, addresses of the parties, and other relevant information like dates of transactions done, issues and problems faced by the sender during the last communication, etc.
The advocate will then examine the matter through the details provided by you, and he may share some relevant points in the conversation. He may also, if required, look for any additional information.
Thereafter the advocate begins to draft the legal notice in the legal language and states the reason clearly why the notice is being sent. He shall also mention all previous communication between the parties with respect to the grievances of the sender. Then the advocate may provide with 15 to 20 days for settling the matter either by negotiating or by performing the required function.
The advocates, in this case, depending on the graveness of the matter, may mention the time period on behalf of the sender. He may ask either to fulfil the demand or seeks for a reply within the prescribed time.
After a notice is drafted, the advocate then signs and stamps the legal notice along with the signature of the client. He then sends it to the recipient via post and keeps with him the acknowledgement. The advocate also retains a copy of the legal notices sent.
The opposite party may reply to the notice received, or the advocate calls the opposite party after some time.
Under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908, when a suit is initiated against a government official or a public officer, serving a legal notice is compulsory. Section 80 of the code explains that in case a lawsuit is filed against the Central or a State Government, then the legal notices must be served to the secretary of that Government or to the collector of that district. It further contains that where the lawsuit is filed against the railways, the general manager shall be sent the notice and where the suit is filed against the public officer; the notice served must be either left at his office or delivered to him.
The government official or the public officer to whom the notice is served is provided with a time period of 2 months to resolve the matter. If any of them fails to resolve, then a formal proceedings can be instituted against them. The compulsory provision for filing legal notice is provided to deter frivolous suits against the Government.
Section 80 of the code further contains the essentials of a legal notice. It must include the name, description, and residence of the sender. Further, the code states that the cause of action and the relief claimed by the sender must be duly mentioned in the notice.
The laws stipulate for mandatorily sending a legal notice in case of cheque bounce to the issuer of a cheque inside 30 days time period from the date of cheque bounce. In case the money has not been repaid within 15 days of sending the legal notice, then on can institute a legal proceeding within 30 days after the completion of 15 days period.
It may also amount to criminal liability under this section where the person who has issued the cheque may get imprisonment of two years and or with fine. The notice must contain all the relevant details of the transaction, cheque, and details of dishonour. Further, it must be signed by the advocate as well as the payee and is sent through registered post.
A timely reply and a properly drafted reply is all you need in case you receive a legal notice. Firstly one should read the notice carefully and understand the matter. Then you may contact an advocate and inform him of all the matter and the relevant information to draft a reply. Once it is drafted, it may be sent through the registered post, and the advocate retains the copy of the notice for future reference.
Sending legal notices is the most significant step prior to the initiation of a legal suit as it may lead to resolution of the matter without circling the courtrooms. The effectiveness of a legal notice depends upon the drafting skills of the advocate and the gravity of the facts mentioned therein. The money spent in court cases and the time invested in them can be saved by legal notice as it may open doors for negotiations between the parties.
Also, Read: How does Legal Notice work?.