Is an Email considered a Legal Document?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by SarahR, Oct 25, 2007.

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  1. SarahR

    SarahR UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    In Court? I.e can an email be used as evidence?
     
    Posted: Oct 25, 2007 By: SarahR Member since: Aug 14, 2007
    #1
  2. DuaneJackson

    DuaneJackson UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Is it a legal document
    and
    Can it be used as evidence

    are two different questions.

    I'm not sure what the definition of "legal document" is, but I know an email can be used as evidence in court.
     
    Posted: Oct 25, 2007 By: DuaneJackson Member since: Jul 14, 2005
    #2
  3. Antonia @limeone.com

    Antonia @limeone.com UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Yes an email can be a legal document and a binding legal document ie a contract. Yes, under the laws of England and Wales an email can be used as evidence. There are rules govering the use of electronic documents' authenticity just as there are for the hard copy docs.
     
    Posted: Oct 25, 2007 By: Antonia @limeone.com Member since: Jan 28, 2006
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  4. SarahR

    SarahR UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Thank you. I'm struggling with a supplier not delivering and I was not sure if the email was legaly a contract.
     
    Posted: Oct 26, 2007 By: SarahR Member since: Aug 14, 2007
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  5. sirearl

    sirearl UKBF Legend Free Member

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    How can that be when an Email can so easily be doctored?:|

    Earl
     
    Posted: Oct 26, 2007 By: sirearl Member since: Apr 23, 2007
    #5
  6. SarahR

    SarahR UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    That's what I thought/was worried about?
     
    Posted: Oct 26, 2007 By: SarahR Member since: Aug 14, 2007
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  7. Antonia @limeone.com

    Antonia @limeone.com UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hard copy documents can also be 'doctored; which is why the court sets down rules which allows them to be examined for authencity. The same rules apply to emails and if those produced are not the original format or have never been sent those relying on them can be held in contempt of court.

    This sort of scrutiny however is really the work of the large money value cases as written documents are never the whole picture in terms of B2C or B2B contracts. The conduct of the parties and their own oral evidence also carries weight in court cases.
     
    Posted: Oct 26, 2007 By: Antonia @limeone.com Member since: Jan 28, 2006
    #7
  8. jigneshpatel

    jigneshpatel UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Getting into this a bit late, but have there been any precedents where email has sttod in court where there were no hard copies?
     
    Posted: Oct 8, 2009 By: jigneshpatel Member since: Oct 7, 2009
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  9. The Resolver

    The Resolver UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Plenty of times - I have relied on email in some of my own cases. In fact in most cases these days the evidence before the court will include emails. Also emails are come within the definition of 'in writing' where such is required under statute.

    Remember contracts do not need to be in writing at all . Cases need evidence. Emails are perfectly good evidence of what agreed. As to doctoring them well they will be accepted unless the other party can bring proof that they are false. Best to produce the full source.

    What is yet to fully develop here is electronic disclosure. Most lawyers provide too little pressure on their opponents to disclose all electronic evidence especially meta (hidden) data in electronic data (eg as to history of changes) which can help challenge an argument on the facts of a contract formation or reveal a 'smoking gun'. Big in the States but not here as yet.
     
    Posted: Oct 8, 2009 By: The Resolver Member since: Mar 31, 2006
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  10. upnorthal

    upnorthal UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    518 54
    Did a court not recently give permission for an order to be
    served online on Twitter?

    I'm sure we will see other documents served in this way in the future.
     
    Posted: Oct 8, 2009 By: upnorthal Member since: Jul 2, 2009
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  11. googol

    googol UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Regarding authenticity of emails - all emails I send are digitally signed with a digital certificate I possess.
    I think this should add some protection for me should any dispute end up in court with the other side presenting doctored emails, as I figure I can argue that if it doesn't have the digital signature, then it's probably not what I sent.
     
    Posted: Oct 8, 2009 By: googol Member since: May 11, 2009
    #11
  12. The Resolver

    The Resolver UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Yes an injunction - but only because the person against whom it was intended was an unknown blogger (with, therefore, no known address for normal service) impersonating the complainant. It was therefore the only way to serve so that the court can establish he has read it (by his subsequent posting or just by identifying his IP address on a later visit) . The effect is that further impersonation postings would amount to a knowing breach of the injunction resulting in more severe punishment if he was identified/located.

    What if the complainant then impersonated the defendant impersonating himself? Then its a short step to suing yourself. I guess I must be tired :)
     
    Posted: Oct 8, 2009 By: The Resolver Member since: Mar 31, 2006
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  13. yorkshirejames

    yorkshirejames UKBF Ace Free Member

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    There was the facebook dismissal that was posted on here a few months ago too.
     
    Posted: Oct 12, 2009 By: yorkshirejames Member since: Mar 2, 2006
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  14. fjones56

    fjones56 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I've been reading the trail of replies about whether emails are proof enough of having put something in writing - very interesting stuff, but does anyone know how legally binding a verbal agreement is? Despite badgering the company concerned, I've been waiting for a contract to come through for more than six months. I've been keeping to the terms of the contract and our agreement because I thought a verbal agreement was binding. The company concerned now say that they aren't prepared to offer the contract. How do I stand?
     
    Posted: Oct 21, 2009 By: fjones56 Member since: Oct 21, 2009
    #14
  15. yorkshirejames

    yorkshirejames UKBF Ace Free Member

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    A verbal agreement is legally binding (proof may be an issue, but you have the fact that you did work and they presumably paid you money).
     
    Posted: Oct 21, 2009 By: yorkshirejames Member since: Mar 2, 2006
    #15
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