Many companies will provide detailed information at the end of emails in relation to a variety of issues, most commonly this will be broken down into vital company information and company policies regarding confidentiality and in many cases disclaimers.
What information do I have to provide?
When deciding what information is to be provided at the bottom of your company emails you need to deal with two kinds of legal issue:
What must be included; and
What inclusions are desirable from a company perspective
Companies Act 1985
Sections 349 to 351 of the Companies Act 1985 require that the following information is included in all business emails sent by a company as well as company letterhead’s and order forms:
The name of the company
The registered office of the company
The place of incorporation of the company
The registration number of the company
Furthermore if your company is an investment company this must be stated in the company emails. Limited companies that are exempt from the obligation to have the word “limited” as part of their name must state that they are limited companies in their business emails.
How do I ensure that this information is provided in my company emails?
The best way to ensure that this information is included in your company emails is to have a standard footer which is inserted at the end of every email sent from the company address. Not every single email sent will be relevant to your business and may not necessarily require this information to be provided. However, to ensure that it is included in all relevant business emails it is good practice to have it inserted at the end of every email sent from a company account including those replying to third parties or forwarding on from third parties.
Does this information also need to be on my website?
All of the above information must be included on the company website as well as in all communications sent by the company.
Is it enough to provide a link to the website at the bottom of the email?
It is not enough to simply provide a link at the bottom of the email to your website. If this information is not provided on all company business communications your company could be liable for a fine.
Who enforces this requirement?
It is the duty of Trading Standards to ensure that this requirement under the Companies Act is fulfilled.
Will I be liable to a fine if I do not comply?
If you do not comply with this requirement under the Companies Act you may be liable to a maximum fine of £1,000.
If you continually breach this requirement then you may be liable for an additional fine of up to £3000 per day.
What if my company is part of a group of companies?
In some cases two or more companies within the same group of companies, i.e. parent companies and subsidiary companies, share the same standard email footer.
For more information on:
- What information is desirable to include in my company emails?
- Email Disclaimers
- Confidentiality Notices
- Should I include confidentiality notices at the end of an email in an email footer?
- Is there any legal authority concerning email confidentiality notices?
- Please note that courts may exercise their discretion to ignore a confidentiality notice due to the lack of legal structure surrounding them.