Pre-Action Steps: Pre-Action Claim vs Final Notice
The introduction of the South Australian Uniform Civil Rules 2020 has caused several changes to the steps that would-be litigants must take prior to initiating proceedings in court.
One such change involves the new distinction between a “Pre-Action Claim” and a “Final Notice”.
Pre-Action Claims must comply with the requirements of rule 61.7 and must, amongst other things, be in writing, explain the basis of your case against the other party, include a Form P3 Costs Estimate (unless it is a personal injury matter) and suggest a suitable time for a Pre-Action Meeting (for more information regarding the mode and content of such a meeting, see my article here).
Final Notices generally require less detail than Pre-Action Claims but must be drafted in accordance with court Form P1 and filed with the court before being served on the other party.
Whether you use a Pre-Action Claim or a Final Notice will depend on the specific circumstances of your matter.
Generally speaking, you may consider using a Final Notice if you reasonably believe that the claim will be uncontested or is not genuinely contestable. In other circumstances you should consider using a Pre-Action Claim.
But what is considered reasonably contestable? Well, as the old school lawyers are fond of saying – that depends! The circumstances of legal matters vary so widely that it can be very difficult for non-lawyers (even those experienced in business) to discern which matters are genuinely contestable and which are not.