Received a Legal notice, Ask yourself following questions to figure out what needs to be done:
What is a Legal Notice?
Legal Notice is a document that puts allegations on the defendant (Receiver of Notice) contained within the complaint. In simple words, Legal Notice is an intimation given to the defendant by the complainant about the complaints on defendant.
What is our next step?
The Legal notice must contain the complete details (Full Name and Postal Address) of the complainant. Check the details and ascertain who the complainant is. This is important in case of an out of court settlement or if the notice is due to some confusion from the complainant's end. Then check what are the allegations levelled against you (defendant). Then you can decide on the course of action you need to take. It is very important for you to understand the charges levelled against you. If you did not understand any term in the notice you need to make all the efforts to understand it including and not limited to consulting a trustworthy lawyer.
Is reply to a Legal Notice necessary?
No. Replying to a legal notice is not a requirement under law. Courts won't pass an ex parte decree (A decree passed against the defendant in absentia) automatically for not replying to a legal notice. The importance of a legal notice would end as soon as the Court proceeding starts. Only when you don't appear in a case despite serving summons on you, shall the Court pass an ex parte order/decree.
Why should I reply to a Legal Notice then?
Though replying to a Legal notice is not required under law, it is generally welcomed by courts. If you decide not to reply to a Legal notice, then this (the act of not replying to the notice) may be held against you in the court. They (Complainant) may state that you, not replying to the legal notice is the root cause of this case. This will result in you facing the wrath of the court even if you are not responsible for any of the complaints contained in the legal notice. So it is always advisable to send a reply to the legal notice.
How should you send a reply to the Legal Notice?
You need to be extremely careful in accepting/denying the allegation made in the legal notice. It completely depends upon your anticipation of future proceedings based upon undebatable evidences. The reply has to be sent within the time stipulated in the legal notice sent by the other party. If there is any delay in sending the reply the reasons for the same may be stated in the reply itself to avoid any misconceptions in complainant's mind. It is very much advisable to send a reply to the legal notice through a registered advocate or take help from legal expert before deciding to reply to it on your own. A reply to the legal notice is a kind of undertaking by the defendant. If the reply is drafted poorly then it may be held against you in the court proceedings.
Shall I use a readily available template on the internet to reply?
Beware of many Templates that are available on Internet. Many Do-it-Yourself prescriptions have been spread across the internet to send a reply to a Legal Notice. But always remember that the facts of each case is different and you may not find a template that is most suitable for your case. Also, they can be useful if you have minimum knowledge on Legal procedures and terminologies. Otherwise sending a reply using such templates may very well backfire. Hence, a consultation with a trustworthy Lawyer is required. Only such a lawyer can give you proper advice on whether or not to reply to the Legal notice you have received and if at all you need to reply, how you can properly frame your reply such that it serves your purpose in the court of law.