An MP in the United Kingdom introduced a bill this week to ban email disclaimers. More specifically, the often lengthy legal disclaimer at the bottom of your email.
Sir Alan Duncan described email disclaimers as “meaningless missives” involving “forests’ value of paper” when emails are printed out.
Sir Alan told MPs that email disclaimers were a result of the early days of the internet and should be modernised with a simple link to a web page.
“We have all been there,” he said.
“A brief email comes in from a friend, co-worker or association and we strike imitation and afterwards we demeanour in fear as page after page spews out.”
His speech in support of the Bill, which would require all UK government departments, councils and companies to delete the legal disclaimers, highlighted their increasing length.
“In the absence of an outright ban, I call on people to think about whether they really need them and, if they feel they do, to keep them down to the bare bones and save a few forests from being chopped down!”
During his time as International Development Secretary, he pronounced he had reduced his department’s disclaimer to 17 words.
Alan’s Bill passed its first Parliamentary hurdle, but is unlikely to make it over any more due to a lack of parliamentary time.
Although this does seem like good idea in order to save paper when emails are printed. The reality is that businesses (large or small) will always feel safer with a legal disclaimer on their emails. If you are keen to remove the legal disclaimer from your email, we encourage you to instead include a link to a webpage with your disclaimer. This way you still have the security of the legal disclaimer as well as saving space on your emails.
Please be aware that there is legislation in the UK and Europe which require businesses to have certain details on their emails – see the International Email Disclaimer Laws slideshow.
Alan Duncan’s full speech can be read here.