Receiving a Letter of Demand: Everything You Need to Know

We often hear about people receiving a letter of demand, or a “lawyer letter” in common parlance, and associating with it a certain gravitas. People certainly tend to feel threatened by it, or at least to take it as an intended threat. But what is a letter of demand? And what should you do if you receive one?

A letter of demand does not denote a lawsuit

A letter of demand is a written letter setting out a list of demands from the sender for the recipient to comply with. It is generally backed up by the threat of legal action being taken against the recipient should the demands not be met within a certain timeframe. It is important to note that a letter of demand does not constitute the beginning of legal proceedings. Most individuals and companies do engage law firms to send out letters of demand; lawyers are not generally wordsmiths, but they can be reliably expected to be clear and precise in their language, and their involvement does lend a certain weight. However, a letter of demand does not necessarily need to be written by a lawyer; anyone can personally send one. It merely outlines certain claims and asserts the willingness to begin legal proceedings in order to back up those claims.

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