Tips when asserting your rights


  • A man taking notes while on the telephoneBe clear about what you want. Is it an apology, an action, a changed decision, or compensation?
  • Be realistic. What does the law say you are entitled to, and what is the best you can hope for?
  • Make a record of what happened, with dates, so you can accurately ‘tell the story’
  • Find out who has the power to give you what you want, and ask them directly if you can
  • Make a note of phone calls, and who you spoke to
  • When you write, set out clearly what’s happened, what you want and when you want it by. Be definite
  • Quote your supporting evidence: letters (with dates), reports (who by?), what the law says, etc.
  • Keep copies of all letters and emails you send and receive, and put dates on your letters
  • If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, ask them again but tell them what you are going to do next
  • Be courteous in everything you say and write. (Those you are addressing may be doing a difficult job)


  • DON’T write 50 pages setting out your case. Try to get the facts into two pages, then say clearly what it is you want
  • DON’T take it personally if you receive a business-style reply. The individuals you are dealing with may sympathise with you, but are limited by their budget
  • DON’T threaten something you can’t deliver (“I’m going to sue you for a million pounds…”)
  • DON’T pester them. There is a fine line between persistence and harassment
  • DON’T forget, you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. Can we (or someone else) help?

Contact us

For further advice on how to assert your rights, contact the Information and Advice Service

First published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 6 December 2016