When does Private and Confidential Apply to Emails?

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19 July 2014
If an individual, not a company or a government department send me an email addressed Private and Confidential to (me) ... from ... (them) so that they can make an accusation against me and by stating it is Private & Confidential stop me from showing anyone else. Also in attempting to intimidate me have stated, "...I have referred this matter to my solicitor for a considered opinion."
What are my options? Thanks.


Well-Known Member
11 July 2014
Hi JayMacy

Letters/emails can have legal words splashed across them (eg, 'without prejudice' in settlement negotiations) however the legal value of such words depends on the context in which they arise

The words 'private and confidential' can be written on an envelope, or email subject line or header, simply to emphasise that the intended recipient should open the letter or (in your case) email, not someone else in whose hands it may unwittingly fall. You can ask your landlord if the words were used in this sense; if he or she says they were intended to have some legal meaning, you can ask him to explain on what basis he or she considers the email contents to be confidential. Generally you don't have a duty to keep information confidential unless there's a confidentiality agreement or something similar in place

Feel welcome to ask any further questions you may have if any of that is unclear, or otherwise

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Further to Hugh's comment,

Generally words such as "private and confidential" will never prevent the documents upon which they are plastered being used as evidence in court or for the purposes of litigation.