We all use and send emails on a regular basis, but too often we forget that there are legalities involved with emails, particularly those containing sensitive or personal information. Are we concluding contracts, can we use them as evidence, what disclosures must we make, and is a disclaimer worth it? These are some of the questions.

It is hard to give a simple, complete, understandable answer in plain English to  the question “What laws apply to email?“. It involves many different areas of the law and intangible concepts. There is a lot of confusion out there and misinformation – making it even more difficult to see the wood from the trees.

Guide to Email Compliance

In the guide, we:

  • state each law,
  • tell you what the penalty (or consequence) is (whether you are going to go to jail or not),
  • give you the applicable sections so that you can go straight to them,
  • provide you with possible actions you can take to comply,
  • point you towards additional relevant guidance in case you want to get a deeper understanding (as opposed to a working understanding).

For Personal Use

You can buy a guide to email compliance for your personal use by requesting a quote or enquiring on the right.

For Organisations

We can brand the guide with your branding so that you can use it to:

  • Educate your customers, suppliers, service providers, or employees about email
  • Instil confidence in your goods or services and build relationships
  • Sell your solutions to customers that are unsure about them

This is a bespoke product where we consult with you, tailor a guide for your purposes, and customise it with your branding. You can distribute it in print or electronic form to your customers, prospects, or employees on your website, in your promotional material, or in person. If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or email us now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements.

The benefits of complying with email law

  • Avoid potential legal sanctions (such as imprisonment or fines). For example, few people know that if you send out a newsletter that does not give the recipient the option to unsubscribe, you could go to jail for 12 months.
  • Avoid financial loss in terms of contract or delict
  • Don’t damage your reputation
  • Avoid costly litigation
  • Produce all relevant records in the event of litigation
  • Your email will be admissible in court and will carry sufficient evidentiary weight
  • Provide access to emails to third parties when required to do so by law
  • Practice good corporate governance
  • Pass audits on email management policies and practices with flying colours

What does the Guide to Email Compliance cover?

To make it easier to follow, we will deal with the laws under the following topics, rather than deal with them one at a time. One law or regulation may appear under more than one topic.

  1. Monitoring email in the workplace
  2. Corporate information on email
  3. Using email to Administer Companies
  4. Conclusion of agreements by email
  5. Personal information and email
  6. Email as evidence
  7. Production of an email
  8. Retaining records in the form of an email
  9. Critical databases relating to email
  10. Consumer Protection
  11. Email disclaimers
  12. Signing emails
  13. Providing access to emails (PAIA)
  14. Securing email

What information does an email contain?

An email contains a lot of valuable information. You use emails for business negotiations as well as to communicate with your colleagues and friends. Emails contain personal information of people and companies. Much of what is transmitted through an email system constitutes a ‘record‘, or a document that must be kept for a minimum period of time that is often established by statutes or regulations.  Where email is a “record” you have to comply with those laws. You also should consider adhering to applicable rules, codes and standards.  Therefore, you should consider adhering to the rules, codes and standards that apply to email. You don’t have to comply, but you should consider doing so.

Who should use it and why?

  • Legal advisors (corporate lawyers or in-house lawyers) – to provide good legal advice on email issues
  • CIOs and IT Managers – to manage email
  • IT Security officers – to secure email and personal information
  • IT Governance officers and specialists – to govern email
  • Information officers – to balance access to information and protection of information. To stay out of jail.
  • Compliance officers – to effectively comply with applicable laws
  • Auditors and assurance providers (internal and external) – to audit and provide assurance regards email
  • Risk Officers and Managers – to manage email risks

What form does it take?

We offer this guide in both print and electronic form. It includes a table of contents, further reading and useful links. Bite size chunks of useful and practical information.

The format of the guide

You can:

  • Buy an electronic copy for your personal use.
  • Distribute multiple generic copies to your customers, operators or employees.
  • Brand it with your branding and distribute multiple copies to your customers, operators or employees.


If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or enquire now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements and give you a quote.