What is a Legal Notice?
A Legal Notice is basically information or intimation in a clear and unambiguous language that a person or entity sends to another person or entity to do or not to do certain acts failing which the sender of the notice would take legal redress. In simple words, it is a formal communication where you tell the other person that you intend to take legal action against him or her. It is a step before you file a lawsuit.
The person who sends the notice is called Sender and the person to whom a notice is being sent is called an Addressee. A notice gives the addressee an opportunity to present his side of the story through an amicable method without recourse to the court. A notice is being served only when it is being delivered or being refused to receive by the addressee
The issuing of the notice may be a statutory duty or merely optional, but in either case, the purpose of the notice is to inform it’s recipient i.e the addressee precisely and clearly about the intent of the Sender. There must not be only a clear despatch of notice but in order to fix liability on the Sender, there must be clear proof of the notice being received by the Addressee.
A Legal Notice is an intimation and is only filed in Civil Cases like the
- Disputes related to property
- Matrimonial Issues
- Issues related to Negotiable instruments
- Sexual Harassment at Workplace
- Non Payment of Salary
- Issues related to payment of insurance claims etc.
Table Of Content:
- How to draft a Legal Notice?
- Essential Information for a Legal Notice
- What Is The Process For Sending A Legal Notice?
- When to send a Legal Notice?
- In What Cases Can We Send A Legal Notice?
- Replying to Legal Notice (What Should You Do After Receiving A Legal Notice?)
- Advantages of Legal Notice
How to draft a Legal Notice?
A Legal Notice can be filed for various issues as mentioned above but if one intends to file a Civil Suit against the Government then that person has to serve a legal notice to the concerned Governmental Organisation before filing a Civil Suit
Section 80 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 provides for sending of a legal notice to the Government or public officer if one wants to initiate any legal action against them for any act committed during their period of employment. The purpose of notice, in this case, is to give an opportunity to the concerned officer to revaluate his action and provide a justification or offer compensation.
The Apex Court in its landmark judgment of Bihari Chowdhary & Anr vs State Of Bihar & Ors has said that the object of the section is the advancement of justice and the securing of public good by avoidance of unnecessary litigation.
Steps to drafting a Legal Notice are:
STEP 1 - Contacting a Lawyer: A legal Notice is being sent through a Lawyer and the first step is reaching out to one.
STEP 2 - Sharing Information: All the information is explained in detail to the Lawyer, like the name of the parties, addresses, issues, grievances, and the relief sought.
STEP 3 - Providing the Documents: All the necessary and required documents are provided to the lawyer for filing of the notice.
STEP 4 - Drafting: The notice is then drafted in the Legal Language by the Lawyer clearly mentioning why the notice is being sent, information about previous communications, and a stipulated time e.g 15 days, 30 days or 60 days is given to the addressee to reply.
STEP 5 - Signing: The notice is duly signed by the Sender and the Lawyer and is generally sent via Registered post or Courier with the acknowledgment receipt being retained safely. A copy of the notice is also kept by the lawyer for future reference.
Essential Information for a Legal Notice
The legal notice is the first step towards a Legal action and it is important that it is in proper format mentioning all the essential information before it is being sent to the addressee.
1. Basic Information: The name, address and description of the Sender is properly and clearly mentioned in the notice.
2. Statements for Cause of Action: The matter in the notice is generally in paragraph and in each paragraph statements supporting the cause of action are being provided. This also includes the essential facts of the issue and grievances the Sender had against the addressee. Previous communication is also mentioned.
3. Relief Sought: The ending paragraph should have a detailed explanation of the relief which is sought by the Sender giving a proper rationale.
What is the process for sending a Legal Notice?
STEP 1: Once the notice has been drafted by the lawyer
STEP 2: It is being signed by the lawyer and the Sender.
STEP 3: A copy is being retained by the Lawyer for future purposes.
STEP 4: The Notice is being sent through Registered Post or through Courier
STEP 5: An acknowledgment slip is being kept as evidence of dispatch.
When to send a Legal Notice?
As it has been mentioned earlier that Legal Notice is being filed in Civil Cases. In Criminal Cases, the State itself issues warrant in case of a criminal offence. The cases in which Legal Notice can be sent are:
- Consumer Complaint Issues: Notices in Consumer Cases are filed in issues such as complaining about Faulty products, services or any advertisement which is false or misleading for the public.
- Property Disputes: Number of litigation in India are related to Property disputes. Land disputes account for the largest set of cases in Indian courts. 25% of all cases decided by the Supreme Court involve land disputes, of which 30% are related to an acquisition; and surveys suggest that 66% of all civil cases in India are related to land or property disputes. The common issues of Property where notices can be sent are:
- Issue of partition between Family members
- Delay by the builder to provide possession of the property
- Eviction of the tenant
- Complaints against the Employer: Employees of an organization are empowered to send notice to their employers in issues such as
- Wrongful termination
- Sexual harassment
- Abuse of power
- Non-Payment of Salary
- Complaints against the Employee: Like the employee, the employers also have the power to send notice to the employees in issues such as
- Violation of any policies of the company
- Infringement of the terms and conditions of the agreement of the employment
- Complaint of sexual harassment
- Personal Disputes: The issues of personal disputes can also be taken to the courts by sending a legal notice. These disputes involving spouse are
- Custody of the Child
- Restitution of Conjugal Rights
- Violation of Prenuptial agreement
- Cheque Bounce: A notice can be sent to the issuer of the Cheque when a cheque bounces. Under Section 138 of The Negotiable Instruments Act, legal action can be taken against the Issuer of the cheque.
“A Legal notice sets a ground for a fair trial as the addressee or the respondent gets time and opportunity to present his side of the story. In Governmental issues it is mandatory to send a notice under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure so that the Government can understand the issue and provide a solution which would be just,” says Advocate Pushkar Taimni.
What Should You Do After Receiving A Legal Notice? - Replying to Legal Notice
It is advisable to reply to notice in the stipulated time as not replying to the notice can benefit the Addressee.
The following things are to be kept in mind once a notice is being received.
1) Reading the notice carefully: It is important to read the Notice properly in order to understand the issue and the concerns raised. If one feels that talking to the person (Sender) who has sent the notice can resolve the issue amicably then the conversation should be initiated.
2) Contacting a Lawyer: If the content is not understood properly then it is advised to contact a good lawyer who can further take the matter ahead. It is advisable to keep a record of the time of notice within which you received the notice it will be advantageous even if the opposite party files a suit against you.
3) Briefing the lawyer: The next important step is to present your side of the story to the lawyer giving information about the facts, time and events related to the issue. So that the Lawyer can draft a proper reply presenting your side of the argument.
4) Sending the reply: Once a reply of the Notice has been drafted by your lawyer it is being sent through registered post or courier and the receipt of the post is being kept. A copy of the reply is also being kept by the lawyer for future use if the Civil suit is being filed.
Advantages of a Legal Notice
Legal notices are a vital principle of the courts as it provides a platform and a chance to both the parties to reach a consensus without taking the route of the court.
- Reaching Common consensus: A legal notice provides both the parties to reach a common consensus. It gives them a chance to put forward their grievances and complaints.
- Saves time: All of us know how long court cases take to resolve and this whole journey is very troublesome and time-consuming for both the parties. The procedure of sending notice provides the parties the chance to save their time.
- Saves Money: It is a well-known fact that the process of Litigation consumes lots of money, the procedure of communication through notice gives a midway to both the parties.
- Providing fair and reasonable chance: Legal notice is an important part of the adjudication process providing fair and reasonable chances to settle the disputed points and to intimate the parties of the legal action.
“A legal notice is an Intimation to the addressee about an issue. It is the first step towards a Civil suit. It is an opportunity for the parties to resolve an issue without taking the recourse of the court. A positive communication through Legal Notice saves lots of time and money.” says Advocate Pushkar Taimni.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can a legal notice be sent by email?
Yes, a legal notice can be through e-mail. However, it is advisable to send a copy of the Legal Notice to the addressee via a registered post or courier as well.
Is it mandatory to reply to a legal notice?
No! It’s not mandatory to reply to a legal notice, but it is advisable to reply. As it can help the Addressee if a Civil suit is being filed. The matter can be solved by common consensus, saving time and money.
Can the legal notice be sent by WhatsApp?
Yes, a legal notice sent by Whatsapp is valid legal evidence under law. Also, the blue tick over the messaging app is valid proof that the respondent has accepted the physical copies of the communication
How to send a legal notice for divorce?
There is no specific procedure for sending a legal notice for divorce. The contents of the notice can have matter dealing with the grievances and facts. It can be sent through Registered post or Courier.
What if the Addressee cannot be reached?
The legal notice should be sent to the last known address of the Addressee, in case of individuals and registered addresses in case of companies and if the notice is returned or comes back for any reason it will be deemed that notice was served to the Addressee. There are a few cases in which sending notice is mandated by law such as cheque bounce, an application under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Also, the Sender should try sending the notice through other mediums such as Whatsapp, Email or Courier as well.
How to send legal notice to the employer?
Legal notice to the employer can be sent through the Registered post, E-Mail, Whatsapp or Courier.
Can I send legal notice without a lawyer?
Yes! You can send a legal notice without a Lawyer, but it is advisable to hire a lawyer as professional writing skills and legal language makes a Notice very effective.
Is it mandatory to send a legal notice before filing a case?
No! It is not mandatory. But it becomes mandatory to serve a notice under Section 80 of Code of Civil Procedure, when a person is planning to file a suit against the Government or Government body.