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General Cease and Desist Letter

Last revision Last revision 25-03-2024
Formats FormatsWord and PDF
Size Size1 to 2 pages
Fill out the template

Last revisionLast revision: 25-03-2024

FormatsAvailable formats: Word and PDF

SizeSize: 1 to 2 pages

Fill out the template

A General Cease-and-Desist Letter is a letter sent to an individual or business that is engaging in unwelcome or illegal behaviour. The letter acts as a formal request that the recipient stop ("cease") and not continue ("desist") this behaviour. If the recipient of the letter fails to comply with these demands, the sender should be prepared to take further legal action to stop the behaviour that is harming or interfering with the sender's rights and abilities to conduct business.

Some situations when this letter can be used are:

  • Repeated, unwanted contact, threats or intimidation that causes emotional distress.
  • False statement that damages reputation of person or entity.
  • Public disclosure of private information.
  • Publication of harmful content on social media or websites.
  • Unauthorized use of personal data. E.g. unauthorized publication or sale of personal data on online or offline platforms.

If the nuisance is from a neighbour a separate Letter to Neighbour about Nuisance is available on this website.

For matters relating to Copyright Infringement or Trademark Infringement, respectively, we have another template available - see our Copyright or Trademark Infringement Cease and Desist Letter.


How to use this document?

A Cease-and-Desist letter includes the following basic elements:

  • Sender: an individual or business who is requesting that a behaviour stop.
  • Recipient: an individual or business who is being asked to stop a behaviour.
  • A detailed description of the offending behaviour and the negative effects the behaviour has had such as harassment or spreading false information and defaming someone or other offensive activities.
  • A warning that legal action will result if the offending behaviour does not stop.
  • A deadline by which the offending behaviour must stop, or else further legal action will be taken.

Once the letter has been completed, it should be sent by email, in person, or through registered post to the individual or business that has been conducting the offensive behaviour.


Applicable law

There are no laws outlining what must be included in a Cease-and-Desist letter. However, best practices and customary usage dictate that a Cease and Desist includes a detailed description of the offending behaviour and a clear demand that the behaviour stop, or else legal action will be taken.

If the matter ends up in court, a Cease-and-Desist letter can be used to show that the Defendant was put on notice about their offending behaviour, so the more detailed the letter, the better.


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