The Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims is made by the Master of the Rolls as Head of Civil Justice. The Protocol comes into force on 1 October 2017.

This Protocol applies to any business (including sole traders and public bodies) claiming payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader).

The Protocol describes the conduct the court will normally expect of those parties prior to the start of proceedings. It includes a template Information Sheet and Reply Form to be provided to debtors in all cases.


  • encourage early engagement and communication between the parties, including early exchange of sufficient information about the matter to help clarify whether there are any issues in dispute;
  • enable the parties to resolve the matter without the need to start court proceedings, including agreeing a reasonable repayment plan or considering using an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure;
  • encourage the parties to act in a reasonable and proportionate manner in all dealings with one another (for example, avoiding running up costs which do not bear a reasonable relationship to the sums in issue);
  • support the efficient management of proceedings that cannot be avoided.

The new process sets out what information a landlord must provide to a tenant before starting any debt recovery action through the courts.

To find out what steps are set out in the protocol and to find the prescribed templates go to