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"Standard" Letter before Claim

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Brief summary of events


Defendant householder cut through electricity supply cable encased in concrete under his driveway.


Claimant repaired the cable


Claimant says cable was 200mm below surface of driveway


Claimant issued Letter before Claim(LBC) 4 months later

- no previous correspondence and begins

"We are now in a position to serve our Letter of Claim pursuant to the Pre Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes.

Claim is in negligence, claims for it's "losses"

Included in it's LBC is it's "invoice" for the repair works. (£536)


Claimant admits that it's LBC is a 'standard' LBC

Many of the defendant's 'failings" alleged by claimant are simply not relevant

e.g. failing to properly supervise it's employees & "Failing in all the circumstances to design or implement safe systems of work"


Defendant made request for information, most of which were refused, including information aimed at discovering if the "invoice" includes a markup.


Defendant made formal response to each of his alleged “failings”.


Defendant denies liability.


Claimant says that invoice must be paid within 14 days or it will become overdue for payment.


LBC was, in fact, issued by and signed by a finance assistant in the Claimant's credit control department, who has dealt with the matter throughout.


It is tolerably clear that claimant is attempting to run two mutually exclusive legal concepts

- a claim in negligence as per it’s LBC and payment of a debt due under contract.


Claimant has not (yet) issued proceedings.


Defendant is concerned that Claimant might not, in fact issue negligence proceedings, but attempt enforcement action to obtain payment of £536 alleging that it is collecting payment of a debt due under contract.


All comments welcome.

Edited by dx100uk
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Thread moved to the appropriate forum...Utilities - Gas, Electricity, Water Forum.


Given there is no Claimant or Defendant as yet.



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household insurance problem I think. Let them know and whether they fight or pay up it isnt your problem.

If you really want to take this on then the issuing of the wrong cause for action on the lba may cost the claimant 25% of the value of their claim but wont stop it from being awarded otherwise.

for the money to be a cntractual consideration then they must have a contract, whether implied or written. Now their letter appears to be a standard cut and paste for all subcontractors or contractors they are involved with rather than joe soap digging up their own drive.

200mm is a shallow trench so what regulations are they tied by and what duty of care as the householder do you have? Current regs are 450mm minimum and warning tape to be 150mm above the cable so negligence seems to be out of the window for them to claim.

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