This page highlights some questions about disclaimers
and signatures in email.
is complemented by the more detailed discussion of 'mailwrap',
confidentiality and warranties
elsewhere on this site.
There is disagreement about the efficacy and appropriateness
of disclaimers at the end (or more rarely at the beginning)
of email messages, particularly those from employees of
government agencies, large corporations or some professions.
An example of such a 'footer' disclaimer is
information in this e-mail is confidential and may be
legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee.
If you are not the intended recipient please delete
and do not disclose to another person or use, copy or
forward all or any of it in any form. Any views expressed
in this message are those of the individual sender,
except where the sender specifically states them to
be the views of ....
An example of a 'header' disclaimer is
Before reading or acting on this email, or opening any attachment, please read Derby City Council's disclaimer and confidentiality statement at the end of this e-mail
disagreement includes comments such as
boilerplate is much much longer than the actual message"
and "there is a 47 line disclaimer attached to
a one line message"
disclaimer is legally value-less
is a breach of netiquette or general good manners
is not seen in 'offline' communication
is nonsense imposed by our system administrator"
There is no uniform and global requirement mandating use
of footers in email or specifying inclusion of particular
information in a footer.
under the UK Companies Act 2006, in effect from
1 January 2007, obligate UK companies to disclose their
company name, corporate registration number, place of
registration and registered office address in email footers,
on corporate sites and on order forms. Those requirements
previously applied to business letters sent by companies
but not to their websites and email.
status of disclaimers
Despite claims that email disclaimers are a new and
meaningless innovation, they can be traced back to disclaimers
featured in fax messages from lawyers, brokers, major
corporations and even government agencies.
They have been adopted (and adapted) as organisations
have come to recognise that electronic mail does go astray
and as those bodies have sought a measure of comfort.
Some, such as finance sector institutions, have been encouraged
by regulators - and potential litigation - to append a
caveat to all written communication; in principle an email
message is no different from a fax or a letter.
Others have adopted them in 'me too' mode, with systems
administrators or advisers cloning another organisation's
disclaimer - automatically applied to every email - in
an effort to reduce risk or merely to acquire some gravitas.
On the net even a message from your dog can look like
it comes from a Wall Street lawyer, and vise versa.
On a day by day basis disclaimers are a signal, rather
than a comprehensive solution. They remind recipients
that the message might not be authentic. The recipient
should accordingly exercise some care in making decisions
on the basis of any message and, for critical communications,
should verify that the message was indeed from its purported
author and was not corrupted.
The disclaimer may appear to be pointless: it is subverted
for example by editing or forwarding the message, few
recipients have signed an NDA prior to receiving a missent
email and there is little the sender can do to 'undo'
receipt. Acceptance by courts and consumers varies from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In practice a disclaimer may have value, if litigation
occurs, by demonstrating that the recipient - intended
or otherwise - was alerted that the content of the message
was copyright and might be of confidential nature.
It might for example provide proof that a lawyer acted
with due professionalism in trying to prevent disclosure
of privileged information.
disclaimers include -
email is intended for the use of the individual addressee/s
identified above and may contain information that is
confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive
persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or
irrational beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient,
any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email
is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly)
and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless
the word tintinnabulation has been used in its correct
context somewhere other than in this warning, it does
not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored.
No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email,
although the barking dog next door is living on borrowed
time, let me tell you. Those of you with an overwhelming
fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that
there is no hidden message revealed by reading this
warning backwards. However, by pouring a complete circle
of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure
that no harm befalls you and your first-born. If you
have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg
and egg whites and place it in a warm oven for 40 minutes.
Whisk briefly and let it stand for 160 minutes before
disclaimer is utter nonsense, and just like everybody
else's, imposes no duties or limitations, and expresses
no rights, in any legal, moral or ethical sense whatsoever.
may not have sent this email as my address may have
been spoofed. If I did I may have no record or might
have forgotten about it. You can't prove I did anyway,
so there. Maybe someone else had taken over my computer
or merely used my machine while I was away. You can
therefore place no reliance on this communication or
anything else that comes to you via the net
you are not the intended recipient close your eyes now.
Failure to do so may cause eye damage, or not, as the
case may be
message has been scanned with the ACME antivirus engine
V10.02.05 (Wile E Cyote version) updated today at 12.55pm,
I am pretty sure, and has been declared infection free
by it. But that really doesn't matter because if Internode's
mail server decides that there is an infection in this
message it will not only disinfect the file, it will
arrest the whole message, take it to an unknown destination,
and not even tell you or me that this message was a
terrorist suspect. You will never even know that this
notice ever existed, so it's only being written to keep
you vewy vewy alert.
You should also be aware that messages from you may
be be treated as illegible immigrants, and locked away
indefinitely. I have been unable to confirm border protection
activities with respect to messages coming from unpatriotic
the more positive
you are reading originates from the internet, and therefore
may not be from the alleged source. If you have any
doubts about the origin or content of this document
please contact us directly via alternative communication
channels that are better able to authenticate our true