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Enterprise Software Thread, Email Disclaimers in Technical; Currently my school does not have any email disclaimer footers. I was thinking about adding one, (that in itself may ...
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    Email Disclaimers

    Currently my school does not have any email disclaimer footers. I was thinking about adding one, (that in itself may be another question) but is there a reason why so many schools add one as it seems that there is actually very little legal effectiveness or real point to them, as far as I can see. The body of the email will have been read before the footer , making some statements irrelevent eg only to be read by addressee etc ! Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Is it a case of "other people do it , so we should too". Any info gratefully received.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloughman View Post
    Currently my school does not have any email disclaimer footers. I was thinking about adding one, (that in itself may be another question) but is there a reason why so many schools add one as it seems that there is actually very little legal effectiveness or real point to them, as far as I can see. The body of the email will have been read before the footer , making some statements irrelevent eg only to be read by addressee etc ! Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Is it a case of "other people do it , so we should too". Any info gratefully received.
    Read this: Email notices and email footers

    People believe a slight outside chance that in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary a judge might just say "Oh, but you've got a meaningless disclaimer with no real basis of showing intent in law, of course you'll win" is better than no chance at all. They are uncritically following the herd because "it can't hurt".

    If you do it, make it brief and to the point without making claims to legality that don't have any basis in common sense / law. If you want any chance of it standing it up in court, include it at the beginning of the email. As the above link notes, your chances are improved if you use the disclaimer selectively - if you automatically slap the disclaimer on reminders for tea money as well as confidential stuff it loses weight.

    Just remember:

    1) No-one reads the things
    2) Most email correspondance (you're a school) can be made available by a FOIA request, so your email isn't "private and confidential" either.

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    OK, thanks. Maybe others in schools who do have disclaimers could explain what their reasons for having them are. Canyone else add to the discussion for or against ?

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Disclaimers are also for internal reminders for employees about their obligations with regards to communications.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Of course, if you're an independent school, then FoI doesn't apply... otherwise, I agree with the above

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    Two reasons not to use email disclaimers IMO:

    1) As has been pointed out, they have no basis in law and are very unlikely to stand up in court.

    2) They make following email chains laborious if they're added to all emails automatically, as you have to wade through pages of waffle to get to the actual messages.

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    What I am trying to determine here is why do so many schools use them if apparently they are pretty much meaningless.
    I assume most schools don't have a legal team, are there any directives from anyone saying we should have one ?
    Who in the school decides to have one, and why ? Is it just because the "school across town have them so we should too". I am just intrigued as to why they seem so popular, yet as far as I can see basically meaningless as per article mentioned above. Maybe someone who has one can say why, who, how they came to decision etc.

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    It's also worth pointing out, if you're a registered company you are required by law to include a few things in an email footer:

    If your business is a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, the Companies Act 1985 requires all of your business emails (and your letterhead and order forms) to include the following details in legible characters:

    Your company's registered name (e.g. XYZ Ltd)
    Your company registration number;
    Your place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales); and
    Your registered office address
    From: Email notices and email footers

  9. Thanks to Domino from:

    elsiegee40 (24th July 2013)

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    And those rules apply to Academies and Independent schools, and presumably free schools, which are actually limited liability companies

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloughman View Post
    Maybe someone who has one can say why, who, how they came to decision etc.
    When I started here, there was a disclaimer which was there because of the sheep effect. I modified it rather than remove it, changing it to a polite request (and apology) rather than 'legal' threats. So it's "Please accept our apologies if you have received this email in error. We would be grateful if you could notify us if that is the case", rather than the usual baseless legal threats.

    Worth noting that while a disclaimer has no force as such, the content of an email will be the copyright of the author or the institution the author works for. So "further dissemination" might well be actionable in some circumstances (i.e. if it is not covered b y fair use).

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