Is your email compliant with the (UK) Companies Act?

Ewan post this today, and it’s very interesting .. every day is a school day!  I had better update my email footer and website then :-|


semi little-known fact… as of the 1st January 2007, the rules for UK companies regarding business stationery changed. Just like every registered company is bound to include certain information (the registered office, the geography of registration (eg England & Wales) and its company registration number) on all its official letters & order forms, electronic communications now fall under this rule.


Changes to business stationery rules

As from 1st January 2007 the following applies to –

Business Stationery
Whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form:

A company must state its name, in legible lettering, on the following –

  • all the company’s business letters, order forms;
  • all its notices and other official publications;
  • all bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by, or on behalf of, the company;
  • all its bills of parcels, invoices, receipts and letters of credit
  • on all its websites

On all of its business letters, order forms or any of the company’s web sites, the company must show in legible lettering –

  • its place of registration
  • registered number
  • its registered office address
  • and if it is being wound up, that fact,

Whenever an email is used where its paper equivalent would be caught by the stationery requirements then that email is also subject to the requirements

The above also applies to Limited Liability Partnerships

The register posted this last year:

Companies to update websites and email footers before 2007

… For websites, contrary to the fears of some, the specified information does not need to appear on every page. Again, many websites will already list the required information, perhaps on their “About us” or “Legal info” pages.

… It is not sufficient to include a ‘contact us’ form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site. A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included.

This is really good, and has a good example

Legal requirements for email footers.  This is a good example:

1) Mandatory information
If your business is a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, the Companies Act 1985 requires your letterhead, order forms and all business emails to include the following details in legible characters:

  • Your company registration number;
  • Your place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales); and
  • Your registered office addres

This information should also appear on your company’s website. Failure to comply with these requirements puts your company at risk of a fine. These duties were clarified on 1 January 2007, as a result of an amendment that was made to the Companies Act to comply with a European Directive. For avoidance of doubt, these details are not required of sole traders or standard partnerships.

2) Optional information: confidentiality notices
3) Optional information: disclaimers
4) Optional information: monitoring

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