If you have a dispute with someone, and you want to speak to them or demand that they do something, you could write them a letter. If your case goes to court, you may need to use the letter as evidence.
This page is a guide to writing to a party that is representing themselves, just like you. If the person you are in dispute with is represented by a lawyer, you should not contact them directly. Instead, you should write to their lawyer. For more information, see
Letters to lawyers.
You may want to write to the unrepresented party because they owe you money, or you need to serve (formally give) some court documents by post.
For a helpful tool to use when writing a letter to an unrepresented party, see
Checklist: Writing letters.
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
Your letter should include:
When you write a letter, your name and address should be at the top of the page, on the right hand side. Underneath that, on the left hand side, you should write the date, and the name and address of the person or business you are writing to.
Always include the date you are signing/sending the letter. A date is important because:
Any letter you write should include a heading. The heading should state all the names of the parties, the court the case is in and the case number, (if the case is in court), or other details to identify the matter, (if a court case has not been started). For example:
If there has been a previous letter from the person you are writing to and you are replying to that, you should say this in the next line.
If you have written to the unrepresented party previously and received no reply, you could instead refer to your last letter.
When you write a letter to someone you should clearly state what the letter is about. If you are:
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.
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.
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 person you sent the letter received it.