Feeds

Disclaimers could make emails into contracts

England's 400 year-old cyber signature law

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.