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Pre-action procedure is governed by the Practice Direction - Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols (PD-PAC) and any relevant specific pre-action protocol (there are 15, but only 4 are relevant to us). PD-PAC and all of the pre-action protocols and are in Volume 1 of the White Book at section C.
1. To facilitate settlement without litigation
2. To enable proceedings to run efficiently and to court's timetable
These aims are to be achieved by:
Earlier and better investigation/exchange of information
Consideration of ADR
Sanctions for non-compliance
When does it apply?
PD-PAC applies where there is no relevant pre-action protocol.
1. The claimant should writes to the defendant with concise details of the claim, including the basis on which the claim is made, a summary of the facts, what the claimant wants and, if this is money, how the amount is calculated. (para 6A)
2. The defendant should respond within a reasonable time; within 14 days in a straightforward case, in no more than three months in a complex one. The reply should either accept the claim or dispute it, giving reasons. (para 6B)
The debt protocol applies where any business (including sole traders and public bodies) claims payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader).
1. The creditor should send the debtor a letter of claim setting out details of the debt owed and why and details of how this can be paid. (para 3)
The letter should also enclose an Information Sheet, Reply Form and a Financial
2. The debtor should complete and return the Reply Form. If this indicates that the debtor is seeking debt advice, the creditor should allow 30 days, or extra time if reasonably requested, for the debtor to do so before starting court proceedings.
3. If the debtor needs time to pay, he should say so on the Reply Form and complete the
Financial Statement Form so that affordable repayment instalments can be agreed.
4. If the debtor does not reply with 30 days of the date of the letter of claim, the creditor may start proceedings.
The personal injury protocol applies to personal injury claims valued at more than £25,000
1. The claimant should send the defendant a letter of claim giving a clear summary of the facts on which the claim is based, the nature of the injuries and financial losses suffered.
2. The defendant should reply within 21 days of the posting of the letter of claim, identifying the insurer, if there is one, and any significant omissions.
3. The defendant then has up to three months from the date of acknowledgment to investigate and reply, stating whether liability is denied and, if so, giving reasons and any alternative version of events relied upon. (paras 6.1 - 6.6 and Annex B2)
The Practice Direction - Pre-Action
Conduct and Protocols ('PD-PAC')
Pre-action protocol for debt claims
Pre-action protocol for personal injury claims ('personal injury protocol')
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