Introduction to this document

Letter before claim (under the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims)

If your customer has failed to pay your invoice and is either an individual or a sole trader, use this letter to encourage payment before the court process starts.


Our Letter before Claim (Under the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims) complies with the protocol which must be used if you’re chasing money owed by either an individual or a sole trader. To comply, your letter must state the amount of the debt, how it’s payable (either refer to the written contract or if it’s a verbal one, say when, where and with whom the agreement was reached), the amount of any interest and charges and how the debt can be paid. 

Don’t forget

To ensure compliance with the protocol, you must enclose with the letter before action:

  • the prescribed information sheet
  • the prescribed reply form
  • A financial statement, i.e. a form on which the debtor can give their financial details if they need time to pay.

These additional forms can be found at



Don't forget that if the protocol applies, the debtor is given an increased amount of time to respond before you can file your claim with the court. The debtor has 30 days to respond using the reply form. If you receive a completed reply form and you can’t settle the matter, you must then give the debtor 14 days’ notice before issuing a claim. If the debtor requests copy documents or information from you, you must allow 30 days before issuing a claim against them.