It may be appropriate to add a ‘confidentiality notice’ to certain external emails It may be appropriate to add a ‘confidentiality notice’ to certain external emails

It may be appropriate to add a ‘confidentiality notice’ to certain external emails where you consider the content to be confidential and you wish it to be treated as such.

We have drafted such a statement and it is below:

Email Confidentiality Notice

This email is confidential and may be privileged. If you have received this email in error, please remove it from your system and inform us that this message has gone astray before deleting it. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying of the contents is not permitted.

Please also consider carefully if the contents of the email are, in fact, confidential. An automatic addition of a confidentiality notice to every email runs the risk of diluting its effect in the eyes of a court.

 

For best effect, this notice should be at the top of any email. If the intent of the notice is to deter someone other than the intended recipient from reading the email, putting it at the end of the email is somewhat self-defeating.

You should consider sending the information as a password-protected attachment to an email and phone the recipient with the password. That way, you can help ensure only the intended recipient is able to access the information.

A confidentiality notice only covers the contents of an outgoing email; any confidentiality attaching to an incoming email will depend on its content and our handling of that email. Be aware of any conditions on incoming email that would affect the ability or right to forward or use that email.

If your mailbox is being managed or viewed by someone other than yourself such as your Personal Assistant, it is good practice to include a short note in your signature to indicate this. Suggested wording is offered below. Substitute the role and name of the individual who manages your mail. 

Note: I have authorised my [ROLE] [NAME] to view and manage emails sent to this mailbox.

Note that you should also add the standard disclaimer notice text to all outgoing emails.