In today’s world we enter into many agreements and contracts with individual or firm that litigation has become very common. Some individuals file suit straightaway and some opt to serve notice to the opponent. Serving of notice is made according to the law. There are certain legislation which makes it compulsory to serve notice to the opponent showing the intent of the suit. For example- The Transfer of Property Act, Indian Contract Act, Industrial Dispute Act etc.
What is Notice?
The word notice is self-defined and well known. There is no precise and legal meaning of this word. It simply means intimation, information, knowledge, attention etc.
The word “notice” denotes merely intimation to the party concerned of a particular fact. It seems that the court cannot limit the words "notice in writing" to only a letter. Notice may take several forms. It must, to be sufficient, be in writing and must intimate quite clearly that the award has been made and signed.
Object of Notice
The basic object of the serving of notice is to show the intention behind filing of the suit. It is given to settle the point of dispute between parties without going to the court of law. The object of the notice is to give opposite party an opportunity to reconsider his legal position and to make amends or afford restitution without recourse to a court of law. The Supreme Court, in the landmark case stated that, “The object of the section is the advancement of justice and the securing of public good by avoidance of unnecessary litigation.” The notice is deemed to be served only when it is received or refused by the addressee and not simply by posting the notice.
Nature and Scope of Notice
Laws regulating notice are of procedural nature therefore requires more vigilance and care while drafting a notice. Ignorance of law is no excuse especially procedural law where a subject is regulate with some procedures.
Cases in which legal notice can be served
Mostly a notice can be served to the opposite party in case of property dispute, dishonor of cheque, family dispute, consumer disputes and labor matters.
Section 80 of Civil Procedural Code 1908 states that if a suit is to be filed against the public officer or the state authority or the state or central government, a notice is to be served to rectify or correct their breach or misconduct within 2 months.
What should be done after receiving a notice?
It is not mandatory to reply a legal notice, yet it is advisable to reply appropriately to the notice bearing in mind the laws applicable. No reply to a notice can add advantage to the sender in court of law. The reply must be given within the stipulated time. In case if you have received a legal notice do not panic, simply follow the following procedures-
Step 1: Read the content of the notice carefully in context of the agreement, executed between the parties. If you think that the notice is not accurate or can be contested and need legal help, approach a qualified lawyer.
Step 2: Check the limitation within which the reply is to be given. Once a time limit is given for replying the notice, try to comply with the time stipulated.
Step 3: Keep record of the time of notice within which you received the notice. A good record keeping will be an advantage even if the opposite party files a suit against you.
Step 4: Check the contractual obligations which the sender of the notice needs to fulfill and which it lacks. Breach of contractual obligations will be a good defense for the receiver. Counter claim for damage due to breach and compliance of obligation can be done.
Legal notices are important part of adjudication process providing fair and reasonable chance to settle the disputed points and to intimate the parties of the legal action. It all depends on how a notice is drafted, whether the focus of lawyer is to settle the points of dispute through arbitration /conciliation or to escalate tension by approaching court.
So, if you want to send a legal notice or have a notice to reply don’t waste your time, consult an experienced lawyer on Legistify.