A letter before action (also known as a letter of claim and often shortened to LBA or LOC respectively) is a formal letter from a claimant to the proposed defendant.
Failing to send an LBA before legal proceedings not only deprives the parties of the potential to settle matters without escalation, but it will likely fall foul of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and put the offending party at risk of an adverse costs order being made against them.
The contents of an LBA will vary depending on the nature of the matter or complaint; generally though, they will include details of what the claim is for, along with what the defendant party must do to avoid proceedings.
All LBAs must be sent in compliance with the rules set out in the CPR and Practice Direction – Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols. Additionally, certain categories of claims are subject to specific rules – known as pre-action protocols – which detail extra requirements of parties before legal proceedings.
In the context of debt claims, LBAs can be split into two types: those which are subject to the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (PAP) and those which are not. It is important to ensure that any LBA goes out containing the correct information to minimise later issues.
What debt claims LBAs need to be PAP compliant?
If the claimant or creditor is a business (such as a company, partnership, sole trader, charity etc.) and the contract in question is with a person (this includes both private individuals and sole traders) then the PAP applies. An example of this would be a limited company writing to a sole trader.
Amongst other requirements, a PAP LBA stipulates that the debtor must be given 30 days to respond before proceedings are issued. You can read our guide to the PAP here.
What debt claims LBAs are not subject to the PAP?
Any debt claims which do not fall within the above definition are not required to be PAP compliant. An example here would be a company writing to another company, or a private individual writing to another private individual. Whilst the additional requirements under the PAP are not required in these instances, an LBA must still conform with the rules set out in the CPR and Practice Direction – Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols.
When sending an LBA through the Debt-Claims portal, our intelligent software detects information entered by you about the creditor and debtor to see if the PAP applies. When the PAP applies, additional questions are created in order to ensure that the correct type of LBA is sent out – making certain that your LBA remains compliant with the relevant rules.
Our LBAs are expertly written with clear and concise language that aims to encourage prompt payment and resolve any issues that might be outstanding.
If you are owed money, either by a business or individual, then head over to our portal and create an account. You can then send out LBAs and issue proceedings all for set fixed costs with no commission.