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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.
For a helpful tool to use when writing a letter to a lawyer, see
Checklist: Writing letters.
Your letter should include:
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
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.
Always include the date you are signing/sending the letter. A date is important because:
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.
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.
If you know the name of the lawyer handling the case, you could write their name above the name of the law firm.
If you are replying to an earlier letter from the lawyer or law firm, you should say in the next line.
If you have written to the law firm previously and received no reply, you could instead refer to your last letter.
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:
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.
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:
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 law firm received it.