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Things you need to know about Cease and Desist letter.


1. What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

A Cease and Desist Letter is a formal warning to an individual or corporation to stop ("cease") and not continue ("desist") any offensive or illegal activity.  The letter explains why such activity infringes on the sender’s rights and gives the recipient a period of time to voluntarily comply with the demand.  The letter also states that if the recipient fails to comply within the given period, the sender is prepared to pursue appropriate legal remedies (i.e. file a complaint in court).

There are no special legal requirements to send a Cease and Desist Letter but it’s best to use a mode of service where you can trace whether it was received or not (i.e. via courier).  Further, it’s advisable for you to save copies of the letter for yourself in case legal action is pursued later on. 


2. When do you need a Cease and Desist Letter?

A Cease and Desist Letter is useful in any of the following instances:

  1. Someone is harassing you - Examples of harassment include slanderous or libelous statements, uninvited visits, stalking or repeated and unwanted calls.    
  2. Someone is encroaching upon your property – An example is when a person starts building or living on your property without your consent.
  3. Someone is violating the terms of a contract – This covers any continuing breach of contract committed by the other person.

While a lawyer is not required to sign and send the Cease and Desist Letter, a lawyer’s services will be necessary if the recipient fails to comply with the letter and the sender is forced to take legal action.  In such cases, the sender must seek a lawyer’s advice on the next appropriate legal action to take.


3. How can a Cease and Desist Letter protect you?

A Cease and Desist Letter is an easy and cheap way of demanding the recipient to stop performing an illegal or offensive activity.  Sometimes a letter is all that’s required to resolve the dispute and prevent it from becoming a full-blown court case, which can be both costly and lengthy for everyone involved. 

Further, if a case is eventually filed in court, a Cease and Desist Letter shows that you exerted earnest efforts to amicably settle the matter.  You gave the recipient an opportunity to voluntarily desist from the illegal or offensive behavior.


4. What information do you need to create the Cease and Desist Letter?

To create your Cease and Desist Letter, you’ll need the following minimum information:

  1. The type of recipient (i.e. individual or corporation) as well as name and details (i.e. address, position within the corporation)
  2. The type of sender (i.e. individual or corporation) as well as name and details (i.e. address, position within the corporation)
  3. Brief explanation of the facts giving rise to the Cease and Desist Letter
  4. The illegal activity you want the recipient to stop doing
  5. The period given to the recipient to voluntarily comply with the Cease and Desist Letter before taking legal action

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