What is a Letter Before Action (LBA)?

A Letter Before Action (LBA) is generally the last letter that will be sent to the opponent when delivering a claim to an adjudicator (not a court). This letter is sent before commencing the complaint and is a final demand which formally reminds and requests the opponent to satisfy the consumer’s demands before escalating matters or taking some other form of action. This LBA should detail and convey all the necessary information to the opponent so that they can properly consider the complaint which ought to give the opponent every opportunity to fully understand the position adopted.

In drafting an LBA, a consumer should assert the reasons why the complaint should be considered, the damages claimed and the applied interest - setting out the reasons why the opponent is liable to pay. Further, explain the risks that the opponent will attract should they fail to satisfy the complaint and any other adverse impact should the matter need to be escalated. For example, the impact of county court judgments and registration of those judgments should the debt not be paid by the deadline.

Ensure the opponent fully appreciates the form of the complaint and the consequences of not complying with it. It goes without saying the adjudicator will eventually read the LBA and should it be authored correctly and the points raised in a logical way. Costs are protected.  This protection could offer a consumer benefits from elevated costs awards as the consumer has been proportional and given the opponent every opportunity to act reasonably.

One should point out, litigants who did not act reasonably run the risk of being punished by any adjudicator.