Reading time: 3 minutes

We set out the purposes of a cease and desist letter, when parties can use them, and how you can respond if you receive one from another party.

What is the Purpose of a Cease and Desist Letter in Disputes?

Typically, the first step a party takes when they want to collect money owing from another party is to send a letter of demand. The letter may warn of further legal action if the party doesn’t respond to the stated demands.

Similarly, a cease and desist letter is the first step when a party has infringed or breached another’s rights. The letter should state the following:

  1. notify the other party they are participating in an activity that they shouldn’t be (for example, breaching a contract or infringing your intellectual property rights);
  2. demand that the other party ‘cease and desist’ their conduct;
  3. provide a warning to the other party that if they do not stop their activity, there is a possibility of further legal action.

When Do Parties Use Cease and Desist Letters?

Parties often send cease and desist letters where:

  • there has been a breach of a contract (e.g. if your employee has left your company and then breached their restraint of trade clause);
  • there has been a trademark infringement;
  • there is copyright infringement;
  • a person is engaging in defamatory behaviour (e.g. someone is posting comments to your social media accounts that are defamatory); or
  • a person is engaging in behaviour that is intimidating or harassing.

As cease and desist letters are seen as the step before legal proceedings, parties may refer to them in any subsequent court action. For example, the statement of claim may make reference to the cease and desist letter. You should also keep in mind that parties can use this letter in any costs applications in subsequent legal proceedings which may arise.

What If I Receive a Cease and Desist Letter?

If another party sends you a cease and desist letter, it is advised you seek legal advice. Failure to respond or address the conduct raised in the letter may mean that the party takes (costly and time-consuming) court action against you. Even if you don’t believe you have partaken in the alleged activity, it is wise to respond and try to reach a negotiated outcome.

Key Takeaways

A cease and desist letter can be a powerful tool and is a necessary first step if a party is breaching a contract or engaging in other infringing behaviour. As this correspondence is often a precursor to potential court action, a lawyer should draft the letter. If you have any questions or need assistance with drafting, get in touch with LegalVision’s dispute resolution lawyers on 1300 544 755 for fill out the form on this page.


Innovation Nation: How to Make the Most of Australia’s Business Innovation and Investor Visas

Thursday 18 November | 11:00 - 11:45am

Want to expand your business into Australia? You need the right visa. Register for our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. From just $119 per week, get all your contracts sorted, trade marks registered and questions answered by experienced business lawyers.

Learn more about LVConnect

Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer