​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Letters to lawyers

If you are involved in a legal dispute, you may need to write a letter to a lawyer representing the other party in the dispute. This page has some tips for writing letters to lawyers and law firms.

Hint icon For a helpful tool to use when writing a letter to a lawyer, see Checklist: Writing letters.

Your letter should include:

    Alert Icon Whenever you write to other parties or their lawyers, you should make sure to only include things that you may want to rely on in court. If you want to offer to settle the matter, you can write the words 'Without Prejudice' on your letters. This means the letters sent by you usually can't be used as evidence in court. Before sending the letter, you should get legal advice.

    Your address, the law firm's address and the date

    When you write a letter to a law firm, your name and address should be at the top of the page, on the right hand side. Underneath that, on the left hand side, write the date, the name of the law firm, and its address. If you know the name of the lawyer who is running the case, you could put their name above the law firm's name.

    Hint icon Always include the date you are signing/sending the letter. A date is important because:

    • it can help you prove when you sent the letter
    • a date can be used to identify the document. For example, if you call the law firm about your letter you can ask them if they have received your letter 'dated 10 January 2011'.

    For example:

    John Smith 
    14 West Street 
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    ​12 October 2011
     

    XYZ Law Firm
     
    123 East Street 
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Headings and references

    Most letters from law firms will include their own reference number and a heading that names the parties and describes the matter. A law firm's reference number helps them identify who their client is and which lawyer in their firm is handling the case. When you write to a lawyer you should also note their reference number and heading.

    For example:

    John Smith
    14 West Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999​​​
    ​12 October 2011

    XYZ Law Firm
    123 East Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Dear Sir/Madam

    John Smith v Marco Pirelli
    Parramatta Local Court, Case number 2011/000012
    Your ref: CO:BAL12345

    CO might be the initials of the lawyer who is handling the case. BAL12345 might be the first three letters of the client's surname plus the file number. This is just one of the ways that law firms write their reference numbers. When writing to a law firm it is helpful to include their reference number if you know it.

    Hint icon If you know the name of the lawyer handling the case, you could write their name above the name of the law firm.

    A reference to any relevant previous letters

    If you are replying to an earlier letter from the lawyer or law firm, you should say in the next line.

    For example:

    John Smith
    14 West Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999​

    ​12 October 2011

    XYZ Law Firm
    123 East Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Dear Sir/Madam

    John Smith v Marco Pirelli
    Parramatta Local Court, Case number 2011/000012
    Your ref: CO:BAL12345

    I refer to your letter dated 10 October 2011.

    If you have written to the law firm previously and received no reply, you could instead refer to your last letter.

    What your response is

    If you are writing to a response to a letter from a lawyer, you will need to clearly tell the lawyer what your response is. You may want to:

    • reject a claim that you were negligent in a car accident
    • reject an offer of settlement
    • make an offer of settlement
    • ask for more information (further and better particulars)
    • respond to a request for further and better particulars.

    For example:

    John Smith
    14 West Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    12 October 2011
    XYZ Law Firm
    123 East Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Dear Sir/Madam

    John Smith v Marco Pirelli
    Parramatta Local Court, Case number 2011/000012
    Your ref: CO:BAL12345

    I refer to your letter dated 10 October 2011.

    I deny that I owe your client any money at all. I hired your client to do gardening work at my property, but your client failed to do any of the work agreed upon, and in fact did not do any work on my property at all. As a result, I had to hire another gardener to do the work your client had originally agreed to do. I enclose a receipt for the gardening work performed by the other gardener.

    Whatever it is that you want, you should write directly and to the point. You don't want to confuse the lawyer by including irrelevant information. You also should make sure that your letter is polite and formal.

    What you want the other side to do

    Before you finish the letter, you should make sure that you tell the lawyer for the other party what you want. You may want them to:

    • discontinue the case
    • pay your costs (if any)
    • give you more information
    • give you more time to file a defence.

    For example:

    John Smith
    14 West Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    ​12 October 2011

    XYZ Law Firm
    123 East Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Dear Sir/Madam

    John Smith v Marco Pirelli
    Parramatta Local Court, Case number 2011/000012
    Your ref: CO:BAL12345

    I refer to your letter dated 10 October 2011.

    I deny that I owe your client any money at all. I hired your client to do gardening work at my property, but your client failed to do any of the work agreed upon, and in fact did not do any work on my property at all. As a result, I had to hire another gardener to do the work your client had originally agreed to do. I enclose a receipt for the gardening work performed by the other gardener.

    I ask that your client file a Notice of Discontinuance and that a copy of the sealed Notice of Discontinuance be served on me within 7 days of the date of this letter.

    Your signature and any relevant documents

    When you have completed the letter, you can write "Yours faithfully", leave two or three spaces, write your name and then sign in between "Yours faithfully" and your name.

    If you are sending any documents, cheques or any other items, these are called 'enclosures'. You should describe what you are enclosing in the text of your letter (as in the example above). You should also add the letters "encl" underneath your name. This reminds the person receiving the letter that you sent something with it.

    For example:

    John Smith
    14 West Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999
    0400 000 000
    12 October 2011

    XYZ Law Firm
    123 East Street
    WESTOWN NSW 9999

    Dear Sir/Madam

    John Smith v Marco Pirelli
    Parramatta Local Court, Case number 2011/000012
    Your ref: CO:BAL12345

    I refer to your letter dated 10 October 2011.

    I deny that I owe your client any money at all. I hired your client to do gardening work at my property, but your client failed to do any of the work we agreed he would do. In fact, your client did not do any work on my property at all. As a result, I had to hire another gardener to do the work your client had originally agreed to do. I enclose a receipt for the gardening work performed by the other gardener.

    I ask that your client file a Notice of Discontinuance and that a copy of the sealed Notice of Discontinuance be served on me within 7 days of the date of this letter.

    Yours faithfully,

    J. Smith

    John Smith
    encl​​

    Hint icon Make sure you include a telephone number in any letter you write so that the person you send the letter to can contact you if they need to. You could also include your email address, if you have one.

    Hint icon Make sure you keep a copy of the letter and a record of when you posted it. You could use registered post so that there is a record of when the law firm received it.