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Businesses and agreements do not always work the way they should. For example, a lender can lose money because of an irresponsible borrower, or a company can incur losses due to another party’s breach of contract. A letter of demand serves as a final reminder before hiring a lawyer in Sydney and taking legal action.

What is a Letter of Demand?

As mentioned above, a letter of demand is sent as a final reminder before you proceed with legal action. It states your legal claims to demand compensation, refund or performance of an obligation. Preferably, you should include a time limit within which the other party can comply with your request. Setting a time limit will make the other party feel the weight and urgency of the matter. Their lack of responsibility got you both to this point in the first place and a time limit might help to get them to cooperate. In case they still fail to coordinate with you, you should include that the issue will be taken to court beyond the time limit.

A demand letter does not have to be a formal document, but make sure that it has:

  • a clear structure
  • all the important details
  • a concise legal argument

Details to Include in Your Letter of Demand Before Hiring a Lawyer in Sydney

Here are some details that you should include in your letter:

1. Contract Details

If your agreement with the other party has a contract, then you should include a summary and as many relevant details as possible. Include specific information like:

  • dates
  • times
  • names of the individuals involved
  • any relevant receipts or invoices for refund or compensation

List all the obligations that you complied with and performed to further emphasise that you have upheld your end of the contract. 

You should also list all of the terms of the contract you complied with and any obligations you performed. You should make it clear that you upheld your end of the contract and expected that the other party will do the same.

2. The Breach 

Outline the relevant laws, you can rely on general contract law, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) or other specific legislation depending on your case. Then list how the other breached the contract and neglected their obligations according to the law and the contract. Be precise and clear as much as possible.

You should indicate any attempts to negotiate with the other party in your letter. The other party and the court (if matters escalate) need to recognise all reasonable steps have been exhausted to resolve the breach.

3. Your Demands

What are your demands? They should clearly be stated in the letter. Indicate how you want the other party to correct their breach and compensate for the damage they have incurred. 

In case things escalate, you should have pieces of evidence to build a stronger case. For example, if you are seeking a refund or monetary compensation, you should provide proof of any payments of money or money owed. And if you are seeking compensation for services, you should have an invoice as evidence that another party owes you money.

How To Write A Letter Of Demand

Here is the step-by-step guide to writing a letter of demand:

1. Review the main facts and type them down. This includes the contact details that were mentioned above.

2. Clearly indicate the purpose of the letter. It should encourage the other party to think about the consequences of not complying with your request, the inconvenience of losing the case, the time that a defence will take and if they really want the dispute to be handled publicly.

3. Indicate what your demands are specifically. Let the other party know if you need monetary compensation and how much you require them to give. Or indicate if you need a service rendered. 

4. Set a deadline. Let the other party know how long you are willing to wait before you escalate the issue to the court. 

5. End the letter with a clear message that you will pursue legal remedies if they refuse to meet your demand.

6. Make sure to keep copies of the letter you send them along with post office receipts.

7. Send your letter by regular and certified mail with a return receipt requested. Sending the letter by regular mail with tracking or delivery confirmation can help in court in case the recipient refuses to sign the receipt. Make sure that you keep the return receipt and proof of delivery to counter any claim that the other party did not receive the demand letter.

Note: Regardless of whether your letter is formal or not, you should be polite. Do not personally attack the other party. Attacking them will only invite them to respond in a similar hostile tone. Remember, the goal of the letter is to resolve the dispute without escalating it to court.

Final Thoughts

There are many scenarios wherein you might need to send a letter of demand, especially if you have entered an agreement and suffered losses due to the other party’s breach. Before hiring a lawyer in Sydney and taking things to court, you must attempt to negotiate with the party in breach or send a letter of demand if they refuse to cooperate.

Keep in mind that your letter should include a summary of your contract, details of the breach, damages you suffered, your demand for remedies and your intention to take the matter to court if the other party fails to comply.