I hate the email disclaimers. If you have an email exchange with somebody else who's stuck with a disclaimer, and it's a quick back and forth, the disclaimers take on an ever-increasing proportion of the sent mail (and shouldn't we be conserving electrons for our grandchildren to use?).
The questions: Has any company or agency in New Zealand ever gotten out of a legal mess by pointing out the existence of the disclaimer? Anywhere else? To what realistic legal risk is the University exposed in the absence of such a disclaimer? Does the law currently hold that any email sent from any random University employee can reasonably be held as constituting the official views of the University? That any employer, as an ISP for its employees, can be held liable if an email has a virus attached? Does the disclaimer's prohibition on dissemination by unintended recipients place any legal and enforceable obligation on them? If so, why can't I also demand that anyone reading an email from me owes me a fee of $1 for having read the email?
Here's the disclaimer:
All emails sent from the University of Canterbury may be confidential and subject to legal privilege. If you are not an intended recipient, you may not use, disseminate, distribute or reproduce such email, any attachments, or any part thereof. If you have received a message in error please notify the sender immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments. Any views expressed in any message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Canterbury.The second sentence says that, if I'm not the intended recipient of the email, I cannot do anything with the email. The third sentence says that I should notify the sender. But the second sentence says that I can't use the email. To reply to the email requires that I use the email, at least to manually transcribe the email address. All very perilous.
The University of Canterbury does not guarantee that any email or any attachments are free from computer viruses or other conditions which may damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The recipient relies on its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and of opening any attachments.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this blog posting should be read as bringing the University's reputation into disrepute. It is purely an academic question about the legal status of email disclaimers in New Zealand.