There are many instances where an individual or an entity takes a legal action against another. It is a foremost step to notify another party that you plan to initiate a legal action against them. It is the reason why legal notice are sent to an individual or an entity. Instances can be property dispute, eviction, check bounce, divorce, etc. Sometimes, it avoids the litigation because parties in dispute settle their matter mutually.
MEANING OF LEGAL NOTICE
Legal Notice is a formal written communication to the opposite party informing your intention to initiate a legal proceeding rather it makes the other party to know your grievances. It is a roll call to solve the issue in the initial stages or a final warning to a legal action. It is usually drafted on the behalf of the client.
IMPORTANCE OF LEGAL NOTICE
- Legal Notice is a starting point of a litigation.
- It is a final warning to initiate a legal action
- It reflects the intention to proceed a legal proceeding
- Remainder to solve the issue
- Making aware about the grievance of the sender
- Gives opportunity to opposite party to resolve the dispute instead of litigation
- Avoid a litigation and maintain a cordial relation between parties
- Opens the door to Alternate Dispute Resolution like Negotiation, Mediation etc.
- Create an evidence of match that you made a demand like promissory note of repayment of money then only he is obliged to pay
- Somehow creates nice impression to the court
- Maintain credibility
USE OF LEGAL NOTICE
Almost in all civil cases like eviction notice, partition of properties, strike notice by employees, matrimonial matters, custody matters, maintenance cases etc. and in certain criminal cases also like negotiable instrument act (Section 138), cheque bouncing cases( notice in respect to demand a payment in 30days and wait for another 15days to meet the demand if fails then cause of action arises and can approach the court) and suit against govt. or it’s officials (only in official capacity not in personal capacity) it is mandatory to issue a legal notice under Section 80 CPC and 60days time given to rectify the issue except exceptional cases. Also, there are some other matters in which Legal Notice is issued; list is mentioned below: -
1. Property related matters
2. Loan Defaulters
3. In Eviction matters
4. In Money Recovery cases
5. Cases under Negotiable Instrument Act like in cheque bouncing cases.
6. In Consumer Forums
7. In Matrimonial matters like divorce, maintenance etc.
8. In Custody cases
9. In Employee/ Employee Relation
It is a method for minimizing the duration and cost of litigation by encouraging the parties to resolve the conflict by alternate dispute resolution (ADR).
LEGAL NOTICE UNDER SECTION 80 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908
Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; allows one to give a legal notice to the government or a public officer if they want to bring a legal case against them for any act alleged to have been committed by the public officer while performing his official duties for a period of two months. The notice's aim is to give the Secretary of State or the public officer the opportunity to reconsider their decision.
LEGAL NOTICE UNDER SECTION 138 OF THE NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENGT ACT, 1881
According to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; In the case of dishonour of cheque or cheque bounce, it is compulsory to send a legal notice to the issuer of cheque within a time period 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 a person can initiate a legal action within 30 days.
NECESSARY POINTERS RELATED TO IT
Q1. Mandatory to send a legal notice in all peace of litigation?
A1. Not mandatory, only in certain cases (Section 138 mandatory else it would be void-ab-initio).
Q2. Is it require to have Advocate to send a legal notice?
A2. Party himself can send a notice directly to a opposite party but most suggested to have advocate because they have appropriate legal skills which helps in the case.
Q3. Mode to send a legal notice?
A3. No legal impediment; It can be handed over personally but it must be acknowledged by the party then only it is enforceable; Sending by post must ensure it is sent by registered post with acknowledgement due in order to ensure that opposite party has received a legal notice. It can be sent by other means of communication like email, WhatsApp etc. are also permitted by court of law and it can be sent through courier services also.
In the case of SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt Ltd. Vs. Rohit Jadhav1, the Bombay High Court has ruled that the Legal notice served through WhatsApp is valid. In simple words, it means that if a person received a Legal Notice on the WhatsApp and he has opened it; it will be deemed that the Legal Notice is served upon the person.
Note- There is a court presumption that once notice is dispatched by registered post at correct address with duly stamped, it is presumed that a registered article is delivered to the addressee unless it is returned.
Q4. Time Limit for a Legal Notice?
A4. Reasonable time limit is given for redressal or to settle the grievance. Appropriate time limit shall be stipulated so that opposite party will get an opportunity to redress the grievances.
Q5. What will be the consequence of failure to comply with the requirements of the notice?
A5. Legal action or instead of legal action can go for settlement.
Q6. Handwritten or Typed?
A6. Notice can be handwritten but in legible handwriting but most suggested is typed.
Q7. Is it necessary to have copy of legal notice?
A7. Yes, it is mandatory and important to keep a copy because it may be act as an evidence.
Q8. Is it only sent in English language?
A8. It can be in English language or local language.
Q9. Is there any limit in the number of pages in drafting a notice?
A9. No Page limit, it must be brief and fact based.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU RECEIVE A LEGAL NOTICE- REPLY TO LEGAL NOTICE
Although it’s not necessary, nonetheless it’s always advisable to reply to a Legal Notice. But many a times “No Reply to a Legal Notice” can be taken as an advantage by the opposite side in the court of law. The consequences for non-replying are not an offence under law, but if replied in an appropriate manner, there are chances of putting an end to finish the long run filing of disagreeable cases. It is advisable to get lawyer but not mandatory. The reply ought to be given within the stipulated time in the legal notice sent by another party. It is very essential to read the content of the Legal Notice properly to understand the issue raised and concerns raised by the sender of the legal notice. If one feels that there is scope for settling the dispute amicably, then it can settle mutually without knocking the door of litigation.
SAMPLE FORMAT OF LEGAL NOTICE
ADVOCATE NAME ___________
OFFICE ADDRESS: ___________
Ref. No.________ Dated: ___________
1- _______________ (Name and Address of the Recipient.)
SUBJECT: LEGAL NOTICE UNDER SECTION ____OF _____ ACT, _____. (Legal Provision)
Under the instructions and on behalf of my client Mr./Ms. _______ S/o _______, resident of _______, I do hereby serve you with the following notice under section ___ of the _______ Act.
1- That my client ______________. (Statement of Facts)
2- That since ______________.
3- That on ______________.
4- That my client wants you to ______________. (Relief Demanded by the Plaintiff.)
I therefore call upon you through this notice ______________.
A copy of this legal notice is retained in my office for further necessary action.
ADVOCATE NAME ______________
A legal notice is a formal legal document that is being made by an advocate on the behalf of the client. It is not mandatory to send legal notice before the filing of suit in all the cases still it is considered really as avital document within 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. However, the potency of a legal notice depends upon the drafting skills of an advocate as well.