Feeds

Disclaimers could make emails into contracts

England's 400 year-old cyber signature law

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The High Court in Manchester has ruled that an email cannot be recognised as a legal written offer if it does not contain a signature or name within the body of the mail. The inclusion of a user name in the message header is not enough.

Judge Pelling ruled that the automatic inclusion of an email address is not enough to count as a signature.

The dispute was between JPF, a Portuguese bed maker, and Bedcare (UK) Ltd and its director Nilesh Metha.

According to court documents, JPF applied for a winding up order because Bedcare owed it money. Metha sent an email, or got one of his staff to, offering a personal guarantee to JPF if they would withdraw the winding up order. Mr Metha did not sign the email but the header read "nelmetha@aol.com".

JPF phoned and accepted the offer made - the hearing for the winding up order was adjourned for two weeks. Bedcare subsequently did go out of business. Metha claimed that the email was not enough to qualify as a signature under the requirements of the 1677 Statute of Frauds, and therefore he was not liable for the personal guarantee.

Judge Pelling said: "In my judgment the inclusion of an e-mail address in such circumstances is a clear example of the inclusion of a name which is incidental in the sense identified by Lord Westbury in the absence of evidence of a contrary intention.... I conclude that the e-mail ... did not bear a signature sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4."

Full judgement available from Bailii here.

The end result of this could be that people who include a signature and disclaimer at the bottom of their emails might actually be making themselves more liable than people who just send one line emails. More details from Reckon here.®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.