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Legal Notice: What, When & How

Legal Notice is the most potent legal tool for getting redressal of a grievance. A well-drafted legal notice can save thousands of rupees ...



Legal Notice is the most potent legal tool for getting redressal of a grievance. A well-drafted legal notice can save thousands of rupees and precious time which would have been wasted in a court-battle. Many laws require that the complainant should serve a legal notice to the defendant and only after no action is taken on the legal notice should a case be filed.

In this article, we will help you learn all about legal notices, their importance and major points to take care of when serving legal notice.


What is a legal-notice and why is it beneficial?

A legal notice is an official intimation from a complainant’s side to the defendant about his decision to pursue legal action against him. A legal notice in that sense is a pre-trial procedure. The objective of sending a legal notice is to apprize the opposite side of your grievance, complaint, and reasons behind the cause of action.

Sending legal notice before initiating legal proceedings is a good legal practice. It saves not only time but also money which would have been spent in a courtroom legal battle, not to mention years of wait for the trial to conclude.


On whom can you serve a legal notice?

Sending a legal notice is a good legal practice but it is not mandatory. If the opposite party is a Government department or a public officer, then sending a legal notice is mandatory as per section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. Similarly, under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, sending a legal notice is mandatory. This relates to cheque bounce cases. It is mandatory to send a legal notice to the issuer of the cheque within 30 days of cheque bounce date. In case the money owed is not paid within 15 days of sending a legal notice, then a legal suit can be filed within the next 30 days.

As a complainant (petitioner), you can serve a legal notice on any person or organization with which you have a grievance. It can be your landlord, employer or company, doctor, dry cleaner, or a government department as well.


Who can serve a legal notice?

You can even serve a legal notice on your own accord. The only catch is that there should be a valid cause of action and violation of a right that is recognized in law. Therefore, it is prudent to consult a lawyer and send a legal notice through him/her. Sending a legal notice through a lawyer adds more weight and authenticity to the Legal notice. Using legal language and comprehensively establishing your cause of action in the legal notice has many benefits.

Ideally, a legal notice itself leads to the resolution of the issue between the parties. Mostly, the receiver of the legal notice (the defendant) is willing to negotiate the demands for resolution or compensation. If you have a lawyer by your side, negotiation becomes a two-way street, and chances of oppression or threatening reduce drastically.


What are the contents of legal notice?

A legal notice should be crisp, precise, and clear. A good legal notice is not longer than two-three pages. A standard legal notice must contain following points:

-        Name, description, and place of residence of the sender of the notice.

-        Statement of the cause of action.

-        The relief claimed by the sender of the notice.

-        Summary of the legal basis for the relief claimed.

-        Relationship between the Sender of the legal notice and the receiver.


In case of a cheque bounce, the following information must be included in the legal notice:

-     Details of the transaction (issuing of cheque and cheque bounce date)

-     Name of the issuer and the name of the person for who the check was issued

-     purpose for which the cheque was issued

-      signature of the lawyer and payee


Important Point to remember while sending legal notice:

  • Always send Legal notice through registered post and retain the bill or acknowledgment with yourself (or your lawyer)
  • Always retain a copy of the legal notice with yourself as well as the lawyer 
  • Remember that the notice may be refused to be received by the defendant. In such a case, refusal will amount to acknowledgment.
  • Always type out the legal notice on the letter-head of the lawyer.
  • Legal Notice should always be signed by the sender as well his lawyer.
  • Legal The notice should always be written on behalf of the petitioner by his lawyer.

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