legal notice
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In this article, Shreyanshi Maheshwari a student of Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA discusses the procedure of filing a Legal Notice. She also provided for the drafting guide along with the sample legal notices in different matters.

Introduction

There are several occasions when a person or an entity needs to take a legal action against another person or an entity. The several occasions can be consumer complaint, property dispute, check bounce, divorce, eviction and many more. However, it is important for you to inform the other person that you are going to initiate a legal action against them. That is the reason, you send a legal notice to a person or an entity.

What is a Legal Notice?

A Legal notice is a formal written document sent by a person or an entity with respect to some grievance. It is sent as a warning to the receiver that the one sending the notice have certain grievances which are not properly taken care of by the receiver, although the receiver has given enough opportunity to the receiver to resolve the problem.

It is like a final warning to the receiver that the sender is all prepared to initiate a legal action and it is the final opportunity for the receiver to resolve the issue in hand properly.

Importance of filing a Legal Notice

Certain situations may arise where you get confused about how to initiate legal action in order to resolve your matter. The filing of a legal notice gives a new beginning to your journey of litigation. Therefore it has various aspects in which it is important:

  • By sending legal notice it can give a clear intention on the part of the sender to file a lawsuit for the purpose of resolving the issue to which the other party might respond immediately to save oneself from court proceedings.
  • A person can easily describe his grievance in a legal notice with the help of an Advocate.
  • Serving of legal notice gives an opportunity to the receiver of the legal notice, that is, the opposite party to resolve the issue cordially.
  • It acts as a reminder for the receiver of the legal notice about the acts that have intentionally or unintentionally have created a problem for the sender.

When to send a Legal Notice?

There are numerous reasons for which you can send a legal notice to a person or an entity. However, the most common ones are:

  • Disputes related to property such as mortgage, delayed possession delivery by the builder, eviction of the tenant, the partition of family property, etc.
  • Notice to the employer for wrongful termination, unpaid salary, violation of any right of the employee by the employer, etc.
  • Notice to the employee for violation of the HR policies, sexual harassment act at the workplace, leaving the job without handing over the resignation letter, violation of any provision of the employment agreement, etc.
  • Notice to a company manufacturing or providing service of faulty products, faulty services, false advertisement, etc.
  • Notice in the case of cheque bounce to the issuer of the cheque.
  • Notice in case of personal conflicts such as divorce, maintenance, child custody, etc.

Legal Notice under section 80 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

A Legal Notice is generally filed in civil cases. In the criminal cases, there is no filing of the legal notice as in case of a criminal offense the action is instituted by the State against the person committing the offense as State is the supreme power. However, if you intend to initiate a civil suit against the Government you have to serve a legal notice to the Government beforehand and only thereafter you can file a civil suit against the Government.

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 a legal action against them for any act claimed to be done by such public officer during the course of his official duty until the expiration of two months. The purpose of the notice is to give Secretary of State or the public officer a chance to reevaluate his legal position and to offer some kind of compensation without going to a court of law.

In Bihari Chowdhary v. State of Bihar [AIR 1984 SC 1043], Supreme Court has stated that “The object of the section is the advancement of justice and the securing of public good by avoidance of unnecessary litigation”.

For Section 80 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (see here).

Essentials of Section 80 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

  1. Name, description, and place of residence of the sender of the notice.
  2. Statement of cause of action.
  3. The relief claimed by the sender of the notice.
  4. Summary of the legal basis for the relief claimed.

Is serving of Legal Notice mandatory?

As per Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 it is mandatory to serve a legal notice before the filing of a suit if the opposite party is Government or Public officer. But, in practicality, it is seen that Advocates serve legal notice before the filing of all the Civil cases. However, it is not mandatory to serve a legal notice in all civil cases except in case of the filing of a suit against Government or Public officer but formally it is been sent by the party intending to sue.

The reason behind this is 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 hand. Also, it gives a credibility to the story of the sender as it expressly states all the liabilities of the receiver.

Legal Notice under Section 138 of The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881

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In the case of a cheque bounce, it is mandatory to send a legal notice to the issuer of cheque within a time frame of 30 days from the date of cheque bounce. If no repayment of money is received after 15 days of the delivery of the legal notice, then you can initiate a legal action within 30 days from the date of completion of 15 days time period.

Criminal liability is also established under this section wherein the drawer of the dishonored cheque may get a sentence of 2 years jail term or fine or both.

  • In the notice, you have to provide details of the transaction for which the cheque was issued, details of the cheque, details of dishonor, etc. through a lawyer.
  • Notice to be signed by both lawyer and payee.
  • Notice to be sent through registered post.

For Section 138 of The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 (see here)

How to draft a Legal Notice?

A legal notice is essentially a notice sent by an advocate on the behalf of his/her client. It is not mandatory for a person to send a legal notice through an advocate, he/she can send a legal notice on his/her own accord without the assistance of an advocate.

It is not even mandatory to send a legal notice as there is no specific provision/enactments of law that make it mandatory to issue a legal notice before filing a suit.

A legal notice is generally issued by an advocate on behalf of his/her client for the purpose of soliciting a settlement. It is issued either to accept the settlement or to reject it altogether in order to avail a civil suit or legal remedies.

Demo Legal Notice

Step 1

Below is a sample letterhead of the advocate who is issuing the legal notice. The letterhead is to be specific and proper, it has to have addresses and contact details of the advocate. This aspect is very important as a letterhead needs to be specific and clear so that the opposite party may respond to the advocate in case they wish to contact the advocate. The date on which the legal notice is issued and the name, address and contact details of the person to whom the legal notice is issued is to be stated and accordingly, the notice is to be commenced.

A legal notice could be sent through a Registered A.D. or through a courier. There is no specific procedure to issue a legal notice. The notice can also be personally tendered to the opposite party, as long as the opposite party is willing to receive it and sign an acknowledgment of its receipt. There is no compulsion to send a legal notice only through a Registered A.D. or through a courier. The reason it is preferred to send it through Registered A.D. is that the receiver acknowledges the receipt of the notice on the Registered A.D. card which is then returned back to the sender, therefore, it becomes a document of proof as it regards the opposite party having received or receives the legal notice.

Now, getting into the notice the first paragraph should be “Under the instruction of my clients _______ residents of _______. I have to address you as under-”. This is the system that is generally followed, but you can also follow a different system.

For example- I am concerned for my client _______ who is a resident of _______ and accordingly, I have the privilege of addressing you upon his/her instructions.

Step 2

Every paragraph in the notice is to be prefixed with the phrase “My Clients state”. This is a very good practice as the opposite party has to know that the statements that are being stated in the notice are coming directly from the client and that they are not created or fabricated by the advocate. When this phrase is prefixed before every paragraph, the opposite party understands that the client is instructing the advocate specifically to state such statements in the notice and the opposite party understands that whatever the advocate is saying is based upon the client’s instruction so that the reputation of the advocate is not tarnished in front of the opposite party and helps in inviting the settlement.

The notice that is being provided here is a notice that is been issued by the landlord to the tenant for the purpose of recovery of rent, that is, the tenant has defaulted in making the payment of rent, therefore, the landlord is issuing a statutory notice to the tenant calling upon the tenant to make payment of the rent of a specific period defaulting which the landlord should be constrained to pursue civil remedies before the civil courts.

You can see the contents of the notice below and know that how to draft a legal notice and what language is to be used while drafting, but one thing that you all need to keep in mind while drafting is that you have to always prefix “My Clients state” before every statement of yours.

Step 3

An important part of a notice is that you have to state that what you want from the opposite party. What you want to convey to the opposite party is always stated in the last paragraph. In the last paragraph, you instruct/intimate the opposite party that the opposite party has to do so and so within the specified period of time failing which the sender will be constrained to avail the civil remedies.

In this notice, the time limit is an important aspect. You have to fix a specific time limit within which the opposite party has to act, because if the opposite party did not act within the specified time limit then it gives you an excuse to pursue legal action, it gives you a cause of action. Therefore, a specified number of days has to be mentioned. Preferably it should be 30 days because it gives the opposite party ample time to act and respond to the notice or should he abide by or fulfill the contents of the notice.

You can also frame the last paragraph differently, that is, if in the event you are issuing the notice for the purpose of inviting a settlement than you can always state in the last paragraph that you are hereby called upon to settle the matter amicably or that you are hereby called upon to meet me in the office or something of that sort for the purpose of settlement which is not always that you have to give the opposite party an ultimatum. You can also ask/invite the opposite party for a settlement. It will not hamper your recourse to the legal remedies in case the notice fails.

Step 4

Subsequently, you have to sign as an advocate. This part of the notice is also very important, especially nowadays this part of the notice is an invoke and in this, you have to clearly state that you are issuing the notice under the instructions of your client and you have to obtain the signature of your client. This would act as an estoppel as against your client from saying that the notice was not directed to issue by him because quite often this happens that if the advocate has faulted somewhere than the client alleges against the advocate and file complaints even before the consumer forum for deficiency in service. Therefore, if the signature of the client is taken then it stops the client from saying that he did not read the contents of the notice. If the client can’t read English, then it would be good if the contents of the notice are being read and explained to the client in whichever language he is comfortable with.

Best practices on sending legal notice

  • One can draft a legal notice on their own, however, contacting a lawyer is always a better option.
  • Make sure the notice is drafted in lawyer’s letter pad.
  • Prefer colour printout of the notice where lawyer’s logo, if any is available.
  • Always keep two copies of notice, one with you one with your lawyer.
  • Post the notice in an envelope having lawyers logo. Ask him to provide the envelope.
  • Client’s and lawyer’s signature is a must in the notice.

The Procedure of filing of a Legal Notice

The use of usual words while writing them in a very casual manner also holds legal importance and meaning of which we are unaware. Therefore, while writing down a legal notice we should be extremely careful about each and every word that we use and be watchful about not admitting any such fact which you may deny later on in the court of law. Once a legal notice is sent you cannot make any amendments to it and later on, also you cannot contradict the statements and information that you have already mentioned in the legal notice.

Step 1

Seek for an advocate who possesses good drafting skills. A Legal Notice can be sent in any of the Indian languages but usually English is a preferred choice. The Notice should address the opposite party against whom you want to file a complaint or suit.

Step 2

While Consulting to your advocate, explain the information in detail with names of the parties involved, the address of the parties, dates of transaction done or need to be done, problems or issues faced any previous attempts of communication, etc.

Step 3

Advocate then carefully examines the matter through the information provided, makes relevant and required points in the conversation with you and looks for any additional information if required.

Step 4

The advocate then starts the drafting of the legal notice in the legal language clearly stating the reason for the sending of notice, all previous communications with the addressee regarding the grievances of the sender and provides a reasonable time frame of 15 days or 30 days to the addressee to settle the matter in hand by negotiating and performing the required action.

Usually lawyers on behalf of the sender of the notice depending on their grievance stress on the action to be performed in the mentioned time period to either fulfill the demand or seek for a reply.

Step 5

The notice is then signed by both the advocate and the client and is sent to Registered AD post and it is ensured that the acknowledgment is retained. Usually, advocate keeps a copy of the notice with him/her.

Step 6

It is expected that the other party will reply to the notice after they receive the notice, but as a usual practice, the advocate calls the other party after some time.

Legal Notice Format

ADVOCATE NAME

OFFICE ADDRESS

DESIGNATION

_____________

CONTACT NO.

__________________________________________________________________

Ref. No.________

Dated: ________

REGISTERED A.D.

To,

1- _______________

2- _______________

SUBJECT: LEGAL NOTICE UNDER SECTION ____OF _____ ACT, _____.

Dear Sirs,

Under instruction and on behalf of our client _______ son of _______, resident of _______, I do hereby serve upon you with the following notice under section ___ of the _______ Act

1- That my client ______________.

2- That since ______________.

3- That on ______________.

4- That my client filed a Demand Notice ______________.

I therefore through this Notice call upon you ______________.

A copy of this legal notice is retained in my office for further necessary action.

ADVOCATE NAME

Notice under Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 regarding dishonor of cheque

To,

Sh.(Name & Address)

________________

Sub:- Notice under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for Cheque Dishonoured due to insufficient funds.

Dear Sir,

Under instructions and authority from our client M/s. ________ having their office at _________, we serve upon you the following notice of demand under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

  1. That your business concern M/s _______ had purchased from my client goods (Name and brief description of goods) vide their invoice bearing no. ___ dated ________ for Rs._______
  2. On delivery of goods above mentioned, you issued a cheque bearing no. ____ dated _________ for Rs._______drawn on ____ Bank.
  3. That when the aforesaid cheque was presented by our client M/s. ____ to your Bankers i.e. ________ the same was returned unpaid by the Bank with the remarks/reasons “Insufficient Funds”. This fact was brought to your notice by our client vide letter dated_______.
  4. That in reply to our client’s letter, you sent a letter dated ____ requesting him to deposit the cheque again with a banker and assured him that they will be cleared this time.
  5. My client again presented your above-mentioned cheque with its bankers, this time again cheque was returned unpaid by the bank due to insufficient funds.
  6. That thereafter in spite of many telephonic reminders and personal visits by the representative of our client to your office, you failed to make the payment due to our client.
  7. That on account of the above facts, you are liable to be prosecuted under section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 as amended up to date under which you are liable to be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of cheque or with both.
  8. Under the circumstances, we call upon you to make the payment of Rs. _____ being the principal amount of the aforesaid cheque along with interest @ ____ % per annum till the time of actual payment within a period of 15 (fifteen) days from the date of receipt of this notice, failing which we will be bound to take further necessary action under the provisions of Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 against you in the competent court of law at your risk and cost.

This is without prejudice to all other legal rights and remedies available to our client for the above-stated purpose.

Kindly take notice.

Date:____________

Yours faithfully,

____________

Notice By Purchaser For Specific Performance Of An Agreement

Registered A.D

……………………………..

……………………………..

……………………………..

Date ………………………

TO,

…………………………..

………………………….

………………………….

Dear Sir,

Re: Sale of House No. ………, situated at …………………………..

You had agreed to sell the house No. …………….., situated at ……………………………………………… to me vide an Agreement for sale dated ………………….. executed between me of the ONE PART and you of the OTHER PART and as per clause …………. of the said Agreement for sale, the Deed of Conveyance, is to be completed within …………………. months from the date of said Agreement.

  1. I hereby give you notice that I the undersigned …………………. was and am still ready and willing to complete the purchase, subject to your performing your part of the said agreement and I require you to complete the same and if you fail to complete the same within ……………… days from the date hereof, I shall file a suit against you for specific performance of the said agreement for sale with damages and costs.

Yours faithfully,

……………….

Notice by Vendor to complete the purchase of immovable property

………………………………..

Advocate

………………………………..

………………………………..

Date ………………………….

TO,

………………………..

……………………….

………………………..

Re: Sale of House No. ……………., situated at …………………………………

Dear Sir,

Under instructions from my client Shri ………………….. etc. residing at …………………………………………………… I have to state as under:-

  1. My client had entered into an agreement for sale dated …………… with you for sale of house No. …………, situated at …………………………………. for a consideration of Rs. ……….. and in terms of clause………….. of the said Agreement, the said transaction is to be completed within ………. months from the date of the said agreement.
  2. My client was and is still willing and ready to execute a sale deed in your favor or in favor of any person as you may direct in accordance with the terms of the said agreement, but the same was not done for reasons of your own.
  3. I hereby call upon you to have the deed of conveyance executed by my client against payment of the balance of the consideration money on or before the ………… day of ………………….. in terms of the said agreement, failing which the said agreement will stand canceled and the earnest money paid by you will stand forfeited. However, this is without prejudice to the rights of my client to recover all costs, damages, losses, and expenses incurred by him by reason of your default in performing the said agreement.

Yours faithfully,

……………….

Notice under section 80, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 against Public Officer

……………………………..

Advocate

……………………………..

……………………………..

Date ……………………….

TO,

Shri ……………………

Medical Superintendent,

………………….. Hospital,

…………………..

Re: Notice under section 80, Code of Civil Procedure,1908

Dear Sir,

Under instructions and on behalf of my client Shri ……………. resident of ………………….. I hereby give you notice as follows:

  1. On or about ………………….. you were the Medical Superintendent of ………………….. Hospital. ………………….. and you were also the Head of the Deptt. of Surgery of the said hospital.
  2. Shri ……………. was admitted to the said ………………. Hospital on …………….. for surgical operation for removal of stones in the kidneys under your care and supervision and ……………. was fixed the date of operation of the said Shri ………………
  3. When the said Shri ……………. was being operated, you were personally present in the operation theatre and doing the operation with the assistance of junior doctors.
  4. After removing the stones, you, while undertaking to stitch, had negligently, carelessly and willfully left a big piece of cotton inside the body, due to which my client started to complain severe pain in the kidneys for which you had prescribed some antibiotics on various visits.
  5. When my client could not get treatment for his pain, he went to ………………….. and consulted Dr. ……………… of ………….. Nursing Home ……………… who opined that there is some foreign element around the kidney, for which my client was operated on ……………… in ………………. Nursing Home and a piece of cotton were removed from inside the body and after the removal of the cotton, my client had got relief from pain.
  6. My client Shri ………………….. had to undergo physical and mental suffering for the negligence, carelessness, and mistake committed by you and he had to spend a lot of money for treatment of pain, which was caused due to leaving the piece of cotton inside the body by you, while undertaking operation for removal of stones in the kidney.
  7. The said ……………. therefore demands from you Rs. ………….. as damages for physical and mental suffering, Rs. ………………….. as expenses incurred by him in the operation and treatment, Rs. ………………. as expenses incurred by him in transport, hotel, etc. totaling Rs. ……….. and I hereby give you notice that if the said amount is not paid, the said ………………….. will, on the expiry of two months from the date of service of this notice, file a suit against you for the recovery of Rs. …………… as damages and expenses incurred by him, at your entire risk as to cost and consequences.

Yours faithfully,

…………………..

Advocate

For more Sample notices of different cases (See here).

Conclusion

A legal notice is a formal legal document that is being prepared by an advocate for his client. Though it is not mandatory to send legal notice before the filing of suit in all cases still it is considered as a very important document in the course of any legal proceedings as in most of the cases actual disputes or issues get resolved even without going to the court of law with a mere serving of the notice. The efficiency of a legal notice also depends on the drafting skills of an advocate, how he drafts the issues involved in a presentable manner for the receiver.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. what is the format for drafting a legal notice by a person in his own case? (taking no services of the law firm or an advocate to draft the same).

  2. Very nice posts madam,
    I have recently constructed my house in Hyderabad through a builder. For my modular kitchen and wardrobe builder ordered that, invoice raised by a Bangalore company in name of builder, but paid advance 90% amount (6lakhs) online from my account to the company directly in September 2018 and finally company installef wardrobe and kitchen in December 2018 and left. I asked them to rectify some damages and malfunctioning of kitchen and wardrobe so many times, but till now they didn’t do. So how can i send legal notice to the company? Please guide me.
    Regards
    Dr. Ojha

    • Yes, you can send them a Legal Notice, for ‘deficiency in service’ and if the reach to a settlement (by rectifying the deficiency) then it is fine. Otherwise you may file a Complaint in the Consumer Forum.

  3. My wife had filed false crpc 125 and 498a/dv case on me and my whole family. Prior to filing these cases, her lawyer sent a lawyer notice in which she accpeted that during her stay in my parents home , there was never any kind of fight and tension between her and me and my parents .. While in dv,498a and crpc 125 cases she alleged that right after the marriage she was physically and mentally harassed for dowry of 5 lakh. Can that legal notice can be used to argue that she has completely changed her statement only to harass me and mt family . Please do reply ..

  4. Namaste Madamji,
    Very simple and useful information played out in very professional manner, me though not an advocate, have served and replied legal notices on my own based on the information provided here. My drafting was very well received. Thanks
    Please keep post more and more such informative explainations.
    Raj

  5. Hello, mam
    I recently sent a ni act section 138 notice drafted and signed by advocate through speed post, is it mandatory to send via registered post, or that can be okay. Should I resend again with registered post.

    Thank you

    • Ashisji,
      Please visit the Indianpostal website, taken the print of delivered report.
      The other alternative is, raise a request on web portal of Indianpostal website providing requested details, you will receive delivery report from concerned Postal Officials and it will be useful for your future process.
      Thanks
      Raj

  6. hello Ma’am…that was a pretty good post. thanks for the valuable information. hope u will provide much more valuable and useful information of the sort thus guiding all the new comers in the profession.

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