Inane email disclaimers

This morning’s Observer column about inane email disclaimers.

A friend sends you an email saying "How about lunch?" and it comes with this implicit threat that if you so much as breathe a word of it to any living being the massed litigators of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne will descend upon you. The practice is now so widespread that most of us have become inured to it. We treat it as a penance to be borne – like muzak in lifts and the "we really value your call, please hold" mantra of customer "help" lines.

The funny thing is that the practice is, at best, legally dubious…

I’m collecting examples of this idiotic legalese. Here’s one that came in this morning:

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, and may be subject to legal privilege, and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error or think you may have done so, you may not peruse, use, disseminate, distribute or copy this message. Please notify the sender immediately and delete the original e-mail from your system. The contents, comments and views contained or expressed within this correspondence do not necessarily reflect those of [sending organisation] and are not intended to create legal relations with the recipient.

LATER: A comment on says:

But don’t forget that, in Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd [1964] AC 465, [1963] UKHL 4 (28 May 1963), the case that established liability in principle for negligent misrepresentation, a disclaimer was effective!