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A letter before action is a formal letter that should be sent to a debtor demanding payment before starting a claim. This is to ensure that the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims is adhered to and that you do not spend unnecessary costs.

The letter should refer to the Debt Protocol contained in the Civil Procedure Rules, set out the basis on which the claim is being made with clear facts, how much you are claiming, enclose copies of relevant documents, include details of where payment can be made to and give a deadline for expiry of the letter.

Frequently asked questions:

What if there is no response to the letter?
If no response is received to the letter upon expiry, you then have the option to issue a claim in the court.

How long should I give the debtor to respond?
To comply with the pre-action protocol, you need to give individuals 30 days to respond. Businesses do not need to be given as long however it is advised to allow them 14 days.

If they dispute the debt can I still issue a claim?
Yes. Although it is a good idea to try and resolve any dispute prior to issuing.

Does the letter have to be sent by a solicitor?
A letter sent on solicitors headed paper is likely to have a higher success rate, as the debtor will take the letter more seriously, however this is not a necessity.

This article was written by Sophie Taylor, a legal assistant in our debt recovery team. For more information, contact slt@debenhamsottaway.co.uk or call 01727 735632.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.