The court expects the parties to a dispute to try to resolve it between themselves before involving the courts.
As a bare minimum, the court will expect you to send a letter setting out what sum you claim is owed and how that sum has been calculated. In debt claims for unpaid invoices, you should usually give the debtor at least seven days in which to respond to a letter sent by post.
The court will be concerned about whether the debtor has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond, either with payment or to explain why the sun is disputed.
From our experience, the court will be satisfied provided that you have given a reasonable period to be respond. If you are giving immediate notice, such as by email or fax, you could give 48 hours notice. It all depends upon what is reasonable in the circumstances.
The Debt Recovery Letter Of Claim Is Required By The Pre-Action Practice Direction
The court expects parties to follow the pre-action conduct practice direction. In debt claims the court will be more relaxed about the timeframes provided but you must ensure that you follow the spirit of the practice direction by trying to resolve the matter before going to court.
The courts cannot force you to follow the pre-action direction but a failure to do so could affect the decision made by the court when it is deciding what order to make in relation to costs, should the matter become defended. For example, a claimant that starts a claim prematurely at court, could be deprived of costs it would ordinarily be entitled to if its claim were successful. The court may also restrict interest recoverable or put the proceedings on hold.
In short, you should not issue proceedings without warning. You should send the debtor a debt recovery letter of claim beforehand warning that proceedings are about to be issued and giving giving a reasonable period in which to respond, either with payment or an explanation as to why payment has not been made.