What to include in a letter demanding payment of debt

If someone owes you money in the UK and you wish to take legal action to recover the debt, you may need to send a letter before action.  Here are the main things you should include in the letter:

  1. Details of the debt:  clearly state the amount of money owed, the date the debt was incurred, and any other relevant details, such as the terms of any agreement or contract.
  2. Request for payment:  request immediate payment of the debt, including any interest or charges that may have accrued.
  3. Deadline for payment:  set a deadline for the debtor to make payment, typically between 7 and 14 days from the date of the letter.
  4. Consequences of non-payment:  outline the consequences of non-payment, such as legal action or debt collection proceedings.
  5. Information on how to pay: T provide details on how the debtor can make payment, such as bank transfer or cheque.
  6. Contact details:  include your contact details, including your name, address, and telephone number, in case the debtor wishes to discuss the matter with you.
  7. Acknowledgement of receipt: The letter should ask the debtor to acknowledge receipt of the letter and respond within the specified deadline.

It is important to note that a letter before action is a formal legal document, and its contents can have significant legal consequences. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice before sending such a letter to ensure that you follow the correct procedures and that the letter accurately reflects your legal position.

In the case of a claim against an individual, there is a ‘pre-action protocol’, a set of guidelines that must be followed by parties in a legal dispute before court proceedings are started.  We will deal with this in a future post.