Pre-action protocol explained. How to set out your claim against an individual before starting proceedings

If you are planning to bring proceedings against an individual in the UK, you need to follow the pre-action protocol in your letter (or  email). That is a a set of guidelines that must be followed by parties in a legal dispute before court proceedings are started. It is designed to encourage early communication and settlement, and to ensure that all parties are aware of each other’s position before going to court.

If you are considering making a claim against an individual in the UK, you should follow the pre-action protocol relevant to your claim. The main points to make to the debtor as part of the protocol include:

  1. Clearly set out your claim: You should provide the debtor with a clear and concise summary of your claim, including the basis for your claim, the amount you are claiming, and any relevant evidence or documentation.
  2. Provide the debtor with an opportunity to respond: You should give the debtor a reasonable amount of time to respond to your claim, usually around 14 days. This may involve requesting further information from you, disputing your claim, or making an offer to settle.
  3. Consider alternative dispute resolution: You should consider whether alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation or negotiation, might be appropriate in your case. If so, you should suggest this to the debtor and seek their agreement.
  4. Provide relevant information: You should provide the debtor with any relevant information they need to respond to your claim, such as copies of relevant documents or witness statements.
  5. Explain the consequences of court action: You should explain to the debtor what will happen if court action is taken, including the potential costs and time involved. You should also explain that court action may result in a judgment being entered against them, which could impact their credit rating.
  6. Encourage settlement: Finally, you should encourage the debtor to consider settling the claim before court action is taken, either through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution.