UK Email Disclaimer Law
UK Companies Act 1985
The Companies Act of 1985 is an important UK company law that governs various aspects of the registration and management of companies.
Every company must keep accounting records which sufficiently show and explain the company’s transactions that (a) disclose with reasonable accuracy, at any time, the financial position of the company at that time, and (b) enable the directors to ensure that any balance sheet and profit and loss account prepared under this Part complies with the requirements of this Act. A company’s accounting records shall be kept at its registered office or such other place as the directors think fit, and shall at all times be open to inspection by the company’s officers. From the date on which the record is made, private companies must retain this information for 3 years and public companies must retain it for 6 years.
The need for an Archiver
Email is a prime medium for exchange and storage of company records. Storage in the mail-server does not protect against falsification, nor does it protect against accidental loss or malicious removal. A purpose built email archive system will ensure that relevant data can be maintained for the desired retention period and maintain integrity of the records through tamper-proof mechanisms. Furthermore, the system will provide easy search access to recover data if required by an external auditor.
UK Companies Act 2006 (amended 2007)
In addition to the requirements of the UK Companies Act 1985, every company has to list its company registration number, place of registration and registered office address on its website and in an email disclaimer. This is due to an update to the 1985 legislation and came into effect on 1 January 2007.
The need for a UK email disclaimer
If your business is a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, the Companies Act requires all business emails (and your letterhead and order forms) to include the following details in a legible email disclaimer:
- Your company registration number.
- Your place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales).
- Your registered office address.
This UK email disclaimer also has to appear on a company's website. Failure to comply with these requirements puts a company at risk of a fine of up to £1,000.
Example UK email disclaimer
Green Organisation is a limited company registered in England and Wales.
Registered number: 5464771.
Registered office: Green House, 21 Bloom Street, London, WC1 1AA.
Financial Services Act 2012
The Financial Services Act was passed to consolidate the regulatory authority of numerous agencies in the United Kingdom. The FSA (Financial Services Authority), which had previously been given broad powers to regulate the financial industry, was replaced with two new regulators, namely the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, which created the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England. This framework went into effect on 1 April 2013.
The purpose of the amended Act was to restructure and broaden the law relating to market manipulation, misleading statements and impressions as well as modernize the financial regulation that failed to protect the UK economy from the fallout of the 2008 recession. Whilst the Act itself is not specific with regards to the importance of a UK email disclaimer, there is some guidance in relation to records retention. For example, in relation to guidance on Money Laundering, records relating to transactions, reports and “information not acted on” must be retained for a period of 5 years.
The need for an Archiver
Financial organizations need to review their compliance relating to email. Given the need to retain records for varying numbers of years, a dedicated email archive store is required to ensure that that these requirements are met.
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of information Act gives anyone the right to request information from a government organization (including central and local government, the health sector, police and armed forces, the education sector and other public bodies), about any subject that they are interested in. However, the Act does not necessarily cover every organization that receives public money. The Act also does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file.
The need for an Archiver
It is clear that organizations reliant upon existing email technology will not be able to adequately meet the SAR (Subject Access Requests) in a timely and cost-effective manner. A centralized email archive store will address all these issues, ensuring that those covered by the FOI can meet their obligations.
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