When a dispute is imminent the first step is usually to write a well crafted letter of demand to the other side to set out your concerns, and make appropriate demands to rectify the problem. A letter of demand is an "open letter" that can be admitted into evidence so some care needs to be taken when drafting it.
Usually a letter of demand sets out at least the following matters: -
- the nature of the case;
- the matters that speak to the breach;
- the suggested remedy and time-frame for it.
Many matters resolve by negotiation and for that reason a letter of demand should be considered as a piece of advocacy. The aim is to articulate the legal reasons why the recipient should comply with the demand rather than risk trial. As such it helps to have an excellent understanding of the legal remedies that are available and how they engage with the facts of a particular matter.
Sometimes a letter of demand can be strengthened by attaching a draft form of the relevant pleadings. This lends credibility to the idea that if the demand is not met that the next step will be the filing of a claim in court. The pleadings will usually be watermarked as a "draft".
Solicitors are under a professional obligation to ensure that a letter of demand has a proper basis in fact and evidence. For that reason it is simply not possible to issue a demand in accordance with whatever a client wants. Our practice is to ask a client to show us the documents and evidence that support their case so we can make an informed decision about what can properly be demanded.
If you are dealing with a breach of duty, contract or equitable obligation then contact us to discuss your case in a conference.
We are sydney litigation lawyers. We help with: making or responding to a letter of demand (or a without prejudice offer), making offers of compromise, negotiating a Deed of Settlement, getting or opposing an injunction or taking a matter to trial. We handle different cases such as breach of contract, remove a caveat, property disputes and others. Call us on T: +61 2 9199 4530 to discuss your options.
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