How to Read a Legal Notice

It is not a matter of worry to have been served a legal notice. It is crucial at such times to know what to do, and make a decision in time to avoid any adverse outcome. It thus becomes very important as a first step to properly understand the legal notice that one has received. It is important to be able to identify the various aspects of a legal notice so that each aspect of a legal notice can be properly addressed and acted upon if need be.

One of the ways of attaining a better understanding of the legal notice is to identify the different parts of the legal notice. This allows for the reader to not only know exactly what needs to be addressed, but also gauge the best possible manner of addressing the issue. In other words, where a reply is needed, the legal notice shall be duly replied and where the matter is such that it can be resolved with mutual talks and establishing an understanding, so shall be done.

This all is highly dependent upon the reader’s understanding of the legal notice. Below are a few things to identify while reading a legal notice along with few possible methods of addressing the same.

Elements to Identify

1. The sender
The sender of the legal notice, on behalf of whom the legal notice has been sent, will be present at the introductory part of the legal notice.

This is one of the major indicators about the kind of response of lack thereof one should adopt. Depending upon the nature of relationship one has with the sender of the legal notice, deciding how to act on the legal notice gains some clarity.

2. The alleged facts
The facts surrounding the grievance of the sender are present in the legal notice in multiple paragraphs. It is important to understand these alleged facts. One of the ways to do that is to read them in chronological order. This would not just enable the reader to understand the alleged facts, but also juxtapose the alleged facts against the reader’s version of the alleged facts.

3. The actual grievance
This relates to identifying the exact portion from the alleged facts, as to exactly what does the sender feels aggrieved about. This enables the reader to first assess whether there is a valid grievance or not. The reader can then also assess what are the possible ways of addressing the grievance of the sender, and if the remedy prescribed in the legal notice is commensurate with the grievance or not.

4. The law relied on
The law relied on by the sender to claim the remedy prescribed, and claim that the alleged actions of the receiver have made the sender liable to receive the remedy prescribed. This is generally present in the legal notice itself, towards the conclusion of the document. This enables the reader to assess the gravity of the situation as the statute and provision mentioned would greatly influence the process of dispute resolution before the applicable authority and the likely outcomes. This allows the reader to develop a better understanding of the legal notice.

5. The relief claimed
The relief claimed or the remedy prescribed by the sender of the legal notice for the recipient to follow or provide is mentioned towards the last in the legal notice. This is important for the reader to understand in order to assess whether the remedy prescribed/relief claimed is actually commensurate with the alleged grievance of the sender or not, and whether the recipient is willing to provide such remedy/relief.


For the recipient to properly understand the legal notice is the most recommended way possible in order to determine the response or lack thereof to a legal notice. If the recipient understands the exact nature of the legal notice, they will be in a better position to assess whether they wish to send a reply, or contact the sender outside of formal proceedings, or wait for the sender to initiate proceedings as claimed by the sender in the legal notice, or any other possible response to the legal notice. The basic idea is, it is important for any person to properly understand and grasp the situation they have ended up in. Understanding the legal notice one has received is only the beginning part of it.

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