Pre-court Letter Before Action (LBA)

What am I obliged to do pre-court, before commencing action?

Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) and the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) together, set the standards and timetables for the conduct of debt cases before proceedings are started.

Pre-action Protocol introduced significant changes:

  • an obligation on both parties to consider settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), thereby taking away the fear of being "first to blink"
  • the introduction of a delay for the defendant to investigate, consider and respond to the claim
  • both claimant (you) and defendant are expected to provide evidence that alternative means of resolving the dispute were considered "appropriate and proportionate" to the case

Pre-action culture is based on co-operation, proportionality and the use of appropriate dispute resolution.

The pre-action process starts with a Letter of Claim and may include disclosure documents from the claimant (you) / request disclosure from the defendant. It may also include an Offer to Settle.

The process has a built-in delay for the defendant to investigate the claim, usually 14 days.

The defendant is obliged under Civil Procedure Pre-action Protocol to co-operate in the sharing of the information being sought and to identify any issues they may have and any facts on which they intend to rely.

This ensures the answers to 5 key questions:

  • who is the non-payer / debtor / defendant?
  • can you prove the claim - support documentation?
  • have you taken all practical steps to recover payment prior to issuing proceedings?
  • have all genuine queries and disputes been resolved, and can you demonstrate this?
  • is the defendant worth pursuing - can they pay?

The broader objectives of pre-action reforms:

  • improving quality of the debt claim put in to the court
  • demonstrating you (the claimant) have tried every other practical means of recovery
  • answering "is the defendant worth pursuing?" before issuing proceedings

The pre-action® ADR® service ensures pre-action compliance and fulfils your pre-court obligations, prior to commencing proceedings in The Small Claims Court. Further, the pre-action® ADR® team carries you through making your court claim, the entire process from letter before action, letter of claim, notice of intent, pre-court preparation, the court process and where needed post-judgment enforcement.

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