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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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Can I be sued if a private email, not ,

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Can I be sued for libel if a private email, not for dissemination, was passed onto a third party who, in turn, passed it on to someone working for my old company?
Apologies for the convoluted query! I was writing to a friend about the state of my old company - he knows it and some of the personnel. I expressed forthright views about the company's finances (which can be verified as they are in the public domain), the competency of the management team and some of the Trustees. I suggested to my friend that a forensic audit should take place because I thought some "creative " accounting may have taken place. My comments were solely for discussion between the two us; unfortunately, my friend passed on the email to someone else who appears to have forwarded it another person and it has ended up with my old company!! I believe that some of the people mentioned in my email have taken legal advice about my comments. As you can imagine, I am now worried (a sleepless night) that I could be facing legal action for expressing my personal views which were not intended for publication. I am also unemployed, receiving various benefits, rent my accommodation, and have no assets. Any advice you can give me would be hugely appreciated. Thank you!
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Who was the email sent to?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Jenny,

The email was sent to a friend of mine, no-one else.It was a private email discussion which was not meant for further dissemination.

Ok firstly you cannot be sued for libel if you did not publically make the comment as the legal requirement for libel to be proven is that the statement is not only untrue but is also publically made.
It is unlikely that legal action can be taken against you on any other basis as , whilst the employer might be annoyed, it is unlikely to suffer a financial loss as a result of this and in UK law you can only sue for financial loss.
To be honest I would not be happy with your friend for betraying your confidence.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much for your prompt reply! You have put my mind at rest - and,yes, I am very cross with my friend for dropping me in the proverbial, especially as it was always intended as a private email exchange and nothing more than that! It's wonderful that such a service exists on the Internet - keep up the good work. Thanks again!


No problem Sue, please do take the time to rate my answer before leaving the site and do come back to me in the future if you need to.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Sorry forgot to ask...can they go for defamation of character?

defamation of character is another name for libel and slander and the same rules apply so no they can't
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Great - and thanks again! I need a strong G&T!!

no problem all the best.