All organizations and individuals are governed by laws. For this reason, if misunderstandings and disputes arise, it is the dissatisfied party to resort to the intervention of the courts of law. It requires the dissatisfied party to file a petition with the court of law and submit a legal notice to the other party before the case is settled in court.
A legal notice is simply the requirement that a party must have sufficient knowledge of the legal processes that affect his rights and duties or obligations. In other words, it is a way to inform individuals or organizations about a case using a method required by the courts of law. A legal notice presented to a defendant must contain all the facts and complaints made in the petition. It is to inform the defendant of what he is being accused of, and he (the defendant) is given a reasonable time to answer; inform the court whether he agrees or disagrees with the facts contained therein.
The person sending the notice is called the sender and the person to whom the notice is sent is called the addressee. A notice gives the addressee the opportunity to present his side of the story in a friendly manner without resorting to court. A notice is served only if it is delivered or refused by the addressee.
The issuance of the notice may be a statutory duty or merely optional, but in both cases, the purpose of the notice is to inform the recipient thereof, namely the addressee, precisely and clearly of the intention of the sender. Not only must a clear transmission of notification occur, but in order to settle the sender’s liability, there must be clear proof that the notification was received by the addressee.
It is an intimation that is filed in the Civil matter only, for example- property disputes, matrimonial issues, negotiable instrument issues, a grave issue like sexual harassment at the workplace, etc.
Under Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Section 80 lays down the provision for filing a legal notice in civil matters. The following are the required information which are:
- There should be precise mentioning of the facts and statements in relation to the grievance for which action is to be taken.
- Mentioning of relief from the grieving party.
- Also mentioning the ways to resolve the problem in hand with the summary of the facts.
Format of Legal Notice
- Name and address of the sender
- Cause of action
- Sender’s residence details
- The relief claimed by the sender
- Legal reasoning for making the claim
- Stamp and signature of advocate sending the notice on behalf of the sender.
Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881
Section 138 talks about dishonour of the cheque due to insufficiency of funds in the account. Under this provision, if there is dishonour of cheque in any manner, then there is a provision of sending a legal notice to the person giving such cheque by the person who dishonours the cheque.
In the case of a check bounce, it is mandatory to send a legal notice to the issuer of the check within a period of thirty days from the date of the refusal. If no refund of money is received after 15 days of delivery of the legal notice, you can initiate legal action within 30 days from the date of completion of the 15-day period. Criminal liability is also determined under this section in which the loading of the dishonest check can get a sentence of 2 years imprisonment or a fine, or both.
- In the notice, you must provide details of the transaction for which the check was issued, details of the check, details of dishonour, etc. by an attorney.
- The notice must be signed by both the attorney and the beneficiary.
- The notice must be sent by registered mail.
Apart from the provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure and the Negotiable Instruments Act, there are other instances under which a legal notice can be issued:
- In case of Consumer forums where a product or service is faulty, provided to a consumer then that consumer has the right to send a legal notice to the person concerned asking him/her in order to rectify the mistake.
- The legal proceedings in case of debt recovery from loan defaulters are initiated once a legal notice is sent to the defaulter. This provision is enshrined under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act).
- In the case of deprivation of salary of the employees and employer of a company, the employer/ employee can send a legal notice to the company director/ employer as the case maybe.
Step by step process of filing a Legal Notice
- Find a lawyer who has good drafting skills. Legal notice can be sent in any of the Indian languages, but English is usually the choice. The notice must direct the opposite party against whom you want to file a complaint or lawsuit.
- As you consult your lawyer, you must elaborate on the information in detail with the names of the parties involved, the address of the parties, the dates of the transaction that was or will be done, problems or problems that the previous communication attempts faced have, etc.
- Attorney carefully examines the matter through the information provided, makes relevant and required points in the discussion with you, and seeks any additional information as needed.
- The lawyer then begins drafting the legal notice in the legal language, clearly outlining the reason for sending notice, all previous communication with the addressee regarding the grievance of the sender and provides a reasonable timeframe of 15 days or 30 days to the addressee to settle the matter at hand by negotiating and taking the necessary action.
- The notice is then signed by the advocate as well as the client and sent to a registered AD post and the recognition is maintained. The lawyer usually keeps a copy of the notice with him/her.
- It is expected that the other party will respond to the notice after receiving the notice, but as a normal practice, the lawyer will contact the other party for some time.
A legal notice is a formal legal document prepared by an attorney for his client. While it is not mandatory to report legal notice before the case in all cases, it is considered a very important document in the course of any lawsuit as the actual disputes or issues are resolved in most cases without going to court with a mere service of notice. The effectiveness of a legal notice also depends on the lawyer’s drafting skills on how he prepares the matters in a presentation to the recipient.
Edited by Pushpamrita Roy
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje