Pre-Action Protocol Letter

Whether it is described as a pre-action protocol letter, pre-action letter, demand letter, letter before action, letter of claim or letter before claim the purpose and content is generally the same.


Objective of the Pre-Action Protocol Letter 

Relevant disclosure is important for this letter because the objective of this correspondence is for parties to act in accordance with the overriding objective (in the Civil Proceedings Rules in Trinidad & Tobago (T&T)) by reasonably exchanging relevant information and documents; with a view to avoiding litigation.


Pre-Action Protocols

In T&T, pre-action letters are guided by Protocols laid down via a Practice Direction on Pre-Action Protocols issued pursuant to Part 4 of our Civil Proceedings Rules. In this Practice Direction, there are protocols for letters for different types of claims.


Considerations and components for Pre-Action Protocol Letter 

A Claimant’s Pre-action Letter should (among other things):

  • Be concise but comprehensive enough for the receiver to understand and investigate the claim.

(N.B. A pre-action letter for a defamation or administrative order may not be as brief as a pre-action letter for a simple road traffic accident.).

  • Enclose documents that are relevant to the claim (or documents that the proposed claimant intends to rely on.).
  • Request an acknowledgement and require a response usually within a month (though this period can be shortened based on the circumstances of the case. However, the receiver should be alerted if the usual period is being shortened).
  • Indicate whether legal proceedings will be initiated if there is no response within the prescribed time.
  • State whether the sender wishes to enter into mediation or any other form of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Request the receiver’s disclosure of relevant documents that the sender wishes to see.
  • Draw the receiver’s attention to the Court’s power to impose sanctions for failure to comply with the Practice Direction (should the matter proceed to Court.).

This letter should be personally served or served via pre-paid post (or courier) and it will be deemed to have been received on the 14th day after posting.

Different appendices in this Practice Direction provide the framework for pre-action letters for various claims for e.g. claims for a specified sum of money, road traffic accidents, defamation and administrative orders.


Confidentiality of   the Pre-Action Protocol Letter

In T&T, it is not unusual to see certain pre-action letters somehow make their way into social or traditional media.  However, the veil of confidentiality must be maintained when it comes to (pre-action) correspondence that is issued “without prejudice’.


For more information see: The Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago : Law Library : Practice Directions & Guides : Supreme Court : Under C.P.R. : Pre-Action Protocols (