What is meant by Pre-Action Protocol (PAP)?

The protocol for pre-action behaviour sets the standards and timetable for the conduct of debt cases before proceedings are started.

How can I best use the Pre-Action Protocol?

The pre-action protocol is a set of steps that both parties are required to take before going to court.

It is started by the claimant sending the late payer a letter of claim. This document includes information that supports their claim and often an offer to settle.

The letter of claim requires a written response from the defendant before the claim deadline.

The pre-action® ADR® service takes care of this for you. It supports you in building your claim point by point and structures the response from the late payer in a format that enables you to proceed with your claim in the most appropriate and cost-effective way.

The defendant is obliged to:

  • Co-operate in the sharing of the information being sought by the claimant, including providing copies of all documents they are asked for
  • Identify any issues they may have, and
  • Identify all the facts on which they intend to rely

They are also required to disclose:

  • The documents on which they intend to rely
  • The documents that:
    • adversely affect their own case
    • adversely affect another party's case and
    • support another party's case
  • The documents which they are required to disclose by a relevant practice direction.

These documents include documents that are now or have been in their physical possession or control with someone acting on their behalf eg agent or solicitor.

To enable you to best meet the expectation of civil procedure Pre-Action Protocol that both the claimant and the late payer provide evidence that alternative means of resolution were considered "appropriate and proportionate" to the case this service recommends to the late payer that they consider using one of the free, independent, confidential and impartial money advice services to help with their response and negotiations with the claimant.

The service also allows fee-based Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services to have on-line access when directed by the claimant and/or the late payer.

Where Court in unavoidable the service produces your N1 Court Claim form and the pre-action case forms the "joint evidence pack" JEP® setting out the efforts made to settle and the evidence from both sides, including where appropriate mediation, for the court and the information captured improves collection by identifying the most effective enforcement method from warrant of execution, debtor to attend questioning, attachment of earnings, third party debt order, charging order or bankruptcy.

If the defendant fails to respond to the Court the Claimant can seek Default Judgment from the Courts by default under section II)4) of the Practice Direction. If the defendant does not have a legally valid dispute the Claimant can seek Summary Judgment from the Court.